Another great post over on iHoppe.com:
I just received a call that my Aunt Donna died last night. Donna was developmentally disabled and her parents were told she would probably not live past 20 or so. She ended up living to 62.
I remember many good times of visiting her and getting to see her light up when you got her something chocolate to eat from the vending machines. If fact, she loved chocolate so much that one time when the nurses needed to do a swallow test to see what she was able to eat, she could not swallow water but could still eat chocolate pudding.
I know that my life was better by having her as an aunt. Being around her taught me to value all people regardless of disability. I learned by being around her and the others she lived with that these people were great to be around and far more loving than most of the people you might meet elsewhere. The simplicity of their lives was refreshing in every way. I learned through her what God teaches us in his Word, that all life is precious. And this I learned not as an abstract concept but learned through interaction with these precious lives themselves.
Being around her also taught me to be comfortable around others with similar disabilities. This has been so helpful in life in general and in ministry specifically. I have been blessed by many people that others might just avoid. And I hope that in a small way I have been a blessing to them.
May Donna now rest with Christ and be raised up on the last day.