It's just a little over a month since we lost Brittany. Many of you knew her. We thank you so much for your condolences and kind thoughts, prayers and words. The support of the deafblind community has helped us greatly.
What I'd like to focus on today isn't our sorrow, but how our deafblind children affect and influence their siblings.
We all know that our kids touch other people outside our immediate families -- relatives, friends, teachers, nurses, doctors, social workers, aides and more. And all of these groups were present at Brit's memorial service, including the many friends she made during the last five years among the deaf community at ParHtners Deaf Services.
We, as grandparents, have many, many great memories of Brit, and they will remain with us forever. But one of the things that sometimes isn't so obvious on a daily basis is the impact that our deafblind children have on their brothers and sisters. In this spirit, I'd like to quote Brittany's sister, Kayla. She wrote her tribute for Brit's ceremony, but was too emotional to speak it at that point. This is what she wrote:
My sister Brittany passed away in her sleep the morning of July 20th. She was only 26. She fought her whole life to live, but she did it with a smile on her face. She was so beautiful, strong, sweet, feisty and funny. She was a light in everyone's life, but she was MY big sister.
I'm going to miss her laugh, the way she would run her fingers across my face and hands, her sudden bursts of laughter and even the constant sound of her Elmo guitar that she always had up to her ear repeating over and over the same part of the song. I can still hear it so clearly.
She couldn't see, but she loved the sunlight. She'd just stand by the door looking up at it. I can picture her blue eyes and long eyelashes in the sun perfectly like a photograph in my mind.
She couldn't hear, but was she was the best listener. When I was younger I'd just talk to her about anything while she was standing playing with her toys to contently.
I'm sad she had to go so soon, but I'm glad she doesn't have to be in any more pain. She's a part of me and everything I do.
I'm not sure what is after this life, but I hope I get to see her again. She was so perfect and amazing and she definitely left her mark on this world and anyone that was lucky enough to meet her. She's a true inspiration. I feel so lucky that I got to be a part of her journey.
--Kayla Villano, Brittany's sister
Thanks to everyone for your words of comfort and support,
Gordon & Mary Boe