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   Priscilla was born a normal child, and a Senator's daughter. The youngest of five, she was lively, and mischievous. But tragedy struck when she was nine years old. While crossing a street at nine years old, she was hit by a car. If I remember correctly, she flew some forty feet. It was a true miracle that she lived. She was in a coma more than three months. When she awoke, she had to learn to eat, walk, talk all over again. She had brain surgeries, and her whole family suffered with her. But at last, she was able to go home, and was tenderly and thoroughly loved as before. Miraculously, she still had her normal intelligence.

   When Priscilla was sixteen years old, her life grew much harder. Her mother died of leukemia, and her father could not take care of her. The last brain surgery, though she still had normal intelligence, had taken much of her walking ability, and balance; and, though she tried hard to walk, she fell often. She was determined not to be disabled, and was furious at anyone who regarded her as such. She refused to use a walking aid, like pushing her wheelchair ahead of her, which made her much more stable. She staggered on fiercely independently, one wild, lurching step at a time. But when she fell, she fell flat on her face, for she could not put her hands out to catch herself. Sometimes her face was quite badly injured. (She did have to submit to being pushed in a wheelchair when outdoors, on uneven ground.)

   Also, that last surgery had stolen her speech from her again, and she could only communicate by slowly, painstakingly signing, one letter at a time, with a hand that shook, and would not cooperate very well; or writing it down on paper. Every bite she took was a danger, as she choked easily. Every swallow of fluid was dangerous, as she choked all the time. Every step she took was a danger, as she fell easily.

   So her father was forced to find a specialized foster home for her, where she could be carefully tended and watched, and be near someone who could help her, twenty-four hours a day. She came to be my foster daughter at that most heartbreaking time of her life, newly motherless, fresh from her last brain surgery, more helpless than ever before, and brokenhearted. She was sixteen-and-a-half, and I was barely twenty-six. She felt more like a younger sister to me, than a daughter, though that changed, through the years.

   Even though she was very sad, I quickly discovered that she had a lively sense of humor, and was a very strong, stubborn, and spunky young girl. She had been raised Catholic, and we talked about Christian things, and faith in God, a great deal, over our years together. I didn't have much time to talk to her during the day, because it was so time consuming, but every evening, when the children were in bed, I talked to her for a long time - often for hours.

   When she first arrived, she thought we had a kangaroo upstairs - it was five year old Chad, hopping on his knees and one hand, being very hyperactive, and unable to walk. She and I laughed about that for many years.

   Priscilla became a part of our family, and we all grew to love her. Her father loved her dearly, and regularly took her out to dinner. Her siblings and grandparents visited, and took her out. She was dearly loved by many. But she missed her loving mother terribly. I drove her to the other end of the city, to the cemetery to visit her mother's grave, since no one else would, and my heart nearly broke for her.

   For three and a half years, she was lovingly a part of us. She would let my daughter Noelle, and sometimes my son Kyle come into her room and watch TV with her - they would laugh together at Mr. Ed, and countless other shows, and they would eat Priscilla's candy, and drink her pop together. This was a great treat, because, though I did not buy much candy or pop for my own children, Priscilla, as a teenager, and a foster child, got to spend all her allowance on this if she wished. And she did. But she was generous and sweet, and she shared with my children.


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