I’ve been given a wonderful gift in life. I’ve had the opportunity to be a volunteer for MDA.
The week is tiring and spectacular. Take kids ranging in age from kiddos to eighteen, given them the freedom to be away from their parents, and put them in cabins with young counselors. The week gives freedoms that most kids/teens with a disability aren’t able to get.
As a counselor (especially when it’s your first year and you’re young), you really learn to appreciate all that your life has given you. Our campers are tough and spirited. And because once you go, you tend to be hooked- we are all able to develop some amazing friendships over the years.
Recently though, we lost one of our members. As is our MDA way, we got ahold of one another through any way possible. Someone who has been around long enough knows the tone in the voices of our friends. We know the intro by heart, “I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’ve got some sad news.” And you intake a breath and wait to hear which friend has gone on.
Our buddy Louie passed away a few days ago. When I think about Louie, a smile creeps to my face. For any person out there that believes that just because a person has a disability, they lose their personality…well brother, you didn’t know Lou. He was a true blue guy- through and through
When I got to know Louie, I was 15. So Louie did not disappoint in the typical teenage boy department. He was hysterical with his wildly inapppropriate humor. And Louie charmed me with insisting that I looked like Julia Stiles. In fact, that became the name he called me.
Louie had a special way that could make the world look to him and wait for him to speak. I know that when everyone gets together and Louie’s name is brought up, there will be story after story to tell. It was hard for a person not to know Louie. He had a presence about him that drew people to him. He had power. He will sorely be missed.