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Emma was born with mental and physical disabilities. She was a fighter from the day she was born. Not once through all the surgeries and physical challenges did she ever give up. As a child she ran through the woods, collected rocks and brought in countless bugs and frogs. Emma was curious about everything. Her desire to learn over shadowed her disabilities.
Emma started school and we prepared for the worst. The name calling, bullying, etc. Never once did she ever complain about any of that. When the school bus dropped her off you could hear her friends yelling good bye. Her teachers often wondered why she was put in a special class. Not only were her grades above average, she could read and do math above the state requirements. But, she had her moments. Everything would shut down inside her. This could last a few minutes to an entire day. Emma would just quit responding to outside stimuli.
At 16, Emma wanted to drive. We were 100% against it. She wanted to be like her friends and never once did we ever refuse her desires to be a normal girl. This was the first time there was hurt in her eyes. Everything this young girl has been through and I’m the first to bring her pain. Six months later, Emma had her drivers license. After a few months of letting her drive us to the grocery store, church, and various other places around town, I decided if she wanted to drive by herself she could.
The day came when she finally asked if she could drive around town. She took the keys and walk out to the car like she was the queen. She had all the confidence in the world. We watched her back out of the driveway being ever so cautious about her surroundings. She got to the road, put the car in gear, then beeped the horn and waved knowing we were watching every move she made. She never went far, she just liked to drive in the neighborhood. She was afraid of the main roads in town because of the big trucks. Staying in the area meant she would drive past our home, a lot. Every time she came by, Emma would honk the horn. That was the greatest sound in the world. I knew she was O.K.
Just after Emma’s 18th birthday she finally succumbed to her heart disease, one of the many physical challenges she fought through her short life. Although we were prepared for the day, it was an emotional time bomb. Emma, brought joy to everyone and never once did she get discouraged through all her limitations and setbacks.
Almost five years later, still unhealed from our loss, I would occasionally hear a car horn outside. I never thought much of it. There’s not much traffic on our street, which made a car horn seem a little out of place to occur so often. After doing some yard work, I stopped to take a break. A car horn beeped right behind me, there weren’t any cars up and down the road. I blew it off as an echo from the houses across the field.
A few weeks later we were watching T.V. The sun was just going down and the firebugs were coming out. One of Emma’s favorite things was to catch firebugs and let them walk up her arm. Twice that evening the car horn sounded, It was in front of our house. There weren’t any cars because it was dark out, there’s no street lights here. You have to have your headlights on, there weren’t any lights! I said in a loud whisper, “Emma?”
Now I know our little angel is O.K. Good night Emma, sweet dreams…