Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Sun Shine Down

This post is a few months late- as I had intended to post this in the month of October- Down syndrome awareness month.

I am totally claiming pregnancy-brain-new-baby-fog on this one. But here I am now- wanting to share with you a friend's book:

Sun Shine Down.
I read this toward the end of my pregnancy- not really sure what to expect. Sure, it was a memoir about Down syndrome and sure, I had corresponded with the author several times on writing "stuff"- but her story was different than mine. Would I love it? Feel a disconnect?

I hunkered down with the book one fall evening- and found myself completely mesmerized and unable to put it down.

Gillian was living overseas- in Ukraine. She had two beautiful daughters, a handsome husband, and a perfectly built life. The birth of her third daughter-born with Down syndrome- blew this all apart for her.

The way Gillian tells her story is so real. I felt her pain. I cried along with her. I understood truly how she felt when she was surprised by this news. She holds nothing back as she describes her experience.

But on top of receiving this surprise diagnosis at birth- she was dealing with a foreign language in a foreign country. Her husband was the national. She was the American still learning the language.

Foreign hospital. Foreign doctors. Foreign diagnosis.

Her story is so different than mine, and yet I felt the same tugs on my heart as she struggled to accept her daughter. I was fascinated by the spin on the story happening in a foreign setting. I was comforted by the story being told in such a familiar way.

I love that she is a pastor's wife and yet lays it out in brutiful honesty. She isn't trying to impress anyone- or show how spiritual she is. She is showing us her heart- and how it came to heal.

She reveals her brokeness and how her perfect life was built back together- including and fiercely loving her third daughter (Polly) and her diagnosis.

On this morning, something deep inside me cracked open: unabashed love, thick like wet clay. I gathered it up for us and squished it around. Polly grabbed and flung it to me. I balled it up and sent it, once again, to her. It went back and forth between us all morning. Her smile, brighter than the Christmas tree, lit up her little face. We were lost in mutual adoration. This was what other parents to children with Down syndrome meant, "Let the baby change you." I'd gotten nowhere regarding Polly as a child with Down syndrome, but when I was able to see her as a baby, as my baby, a light switched on inside. Sun Shine Down, pg 119

If you want to read a good memoir on Down syndrome that will take you on the journey from fear to such deep acceptance that she ends up adopting a second daughter with Down syndrome as well- this is a wonderful read.

Thank you Gillian, for sharing your journey with us so eloquently.

*all opinions are my own, but this post does contain affiliate links

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