Chris is my cousin who had Downs Syndrome. I remember looking at her in the bassinet and hearing the aunts and uncles discussing the report from the doctor. She didn’t look like anything was wrong to me. I thought she was just perfect. She had bright, really bright, blue eyes and she kicked under her Baptismal dress until her legs broke free. Then she giggled and chewed her fingers.
Her mom, Aunt Helen, was my mom’s sister. Chris always got preferential treatment when she visited the relatives. As she got older, her favorite drinks and snacks were always on hand. “Don’t eat that! It’s for Chris! Who drank the Coke? That was for Chris.”
Helen and Chris had a sign They would pat their heart and and point to each other across the room to say I love you. We’d be gathered a the table and sure enough one would signal the other and they’d smile really big. Helen always said Chris was her angel.
When they visited Ireland, my grandmother’s homeland, Chris sparkled. Once they dined at a pub and when the band came on stage, Chris joined them. She sang, When Irish Eyes Are Smiling. Within the first chorus, the entire pub joined in singing their hearts out. She held the microphone and sang her heart out, enjoying the crowd. That was one of Helen’s fondest memories.
When I visited Chris in a nursing home, we re-created the scene. My sister, cousin and Helen all joined Chris singing When Irish Eyes Are Smiling. Chris smiled. We all had tears streaming down our faces.
I’ve been wondering why I haven’t got a sign from either of them. Christ passed away two years ago and Helen the following year.
Yesterday I re-posted a video of a young teenage girl playing a guitar while her brother with Downs is sitting on the floor next to her. He’s swaying to the music. She starts singing You Are My Sunshine and her brother joins in. It was the sweetest thing to watch.
This morning I checked my messages and guess what popped up. My cousin Char sent a photo of Chris standing her crib. Char was so close to Helen and Chris. Of course she’d be the one to send the photo.
You Are My Sunshine was one of Chris’s favorite songs. She and Helen sang it to each other and. Their little sign would follow; tap the heart, point the finger, giggle.
We have a triangle Angel Bumps this morning. From Heaven to Char, to me, the message has been delivered.
Notice the word at the bottom of the upper photo.