Follow @stuckinscared Stuck In Scared: MARIE'S VOICE... #1000speak

Friday, 27 February 2015

MARIE'S VOICE... #1000speak

An extraordinary true story. ... 1000 speak for compassion. via @stuckinscared

Once upon a time (1970 to be exact) in a children's home in England, run by an order of nuns called 'The Poor Sisters Of Nazareth'... there lived a very 'special' little girl.
She was a tiny little dot, who had short cropped hair, and the bluest of blue eyes.
Her beauty (often overlooked) was breathtaking!

Like all children, the child had needs; the need to be kept fed and safe if she were to survive, and the need of attention, love, and compassion if she were to thrive, but (as mentioned before) she was a 'special' little girl, and as such her needs far outweighed those of the other children who lived at the orphanage.

At five years old (such as she was) she was unable to feed herself, she couldn't walk, she couldn't talk, her understanding of the world around her was extremely limited... and her behaviour would have tried the patience of a saint (or nun, as the case may be!).

The child had 'special' needs. She needed 'special' care.
And so it was, that the Nuns (in order to best manage their 'special' little charge), had devised an extraordinary care plan.

The child was fed on 'special' food - wickedly small portions of Librium laced cereal!
She was given a 'special' bed... a cot cage on the nursery floor, away from children her own age, which was tied to the wall with rope... to keep her safe contained!
And, she was given her own 'special' play room prison - The pram storage room, which contained, well, prams!

There were no toys in the pram room for the little girl to play with, no cushions for her to snuggle into when she napped fell into an exhausted (scream worn) sleep - no padding to protect her when out of fear, abandonment, desperation, she smashed her head against the floor... over and over again!

There were no hearers of responders to her screams, no wipes for her tear stained (often blood stained) cheeks, no cuddles for calm.... no attention - no love - no compassion.

If she wasn't trapped in a cot or squeezed into a high chair, she was allowed to forced to use her 'special' room (unattended) for most of the day.

Her only companion - the frightened little girl in the mirror!
Once upon a time (1970 to be exact) in a children's home in England....run by an order of nuns called 'The Poor Sisters Of Nazareth'....there lived a very 'special' little girl. #1000speak

The little girls name was Marie; she was born profoundly disabled, with severe learning disability, cerebral Palsy, mobility problems and epilepsy.
She was placed into Nazareth house children's home when she was six weeks old.

***

In my minds eye
The room is just as I imagined it to be; empty, aside from a row of old fashioned prams and a long mirror on the wall. The main door to the room is closed. The doors to the veranda are locked.

The child is sat with her back to me in front of the mirror; head down, torso slumped, and she is crying... body-wracking-sobs.
Another lonely day; voiceless, trapped, afraid. Hopelessness surrounds her.

She lifts her head, and (through the rain) looks despairingly at her mirrored self; the expression in the eyes reflected back at her is one of pleading... the child is in such pain.

There are no words for the emotion that almost explodes from my heart. It hurts to look, and just for a moment, I turn away.

I want to reach out and touch her; lift her onto my lap, cuddle her calm and tell her I love her.
I want to take wipes from my bag; wipe the blood from her forehead and the tears from her cheeks.
I want to hold her to me, stroke her hair, kiss her perfect little face and tickle her into giggles.

I sit down next to her, and imagining that she can see/hear me as I can her, I say, "It's okay darling... everything's gonna be okay... compassion is on her way.
She'll be here soon - she'll be your voice, and one day (though she doesn't yet know it herself) she'll be your mum.
She will fight for you, care for you, love you... and she'll be with you always."

Just before I opened my eyes (and headed back to my laptop) the child shuffled forward, and (still gulping down sobs) she reached out toward the mirror, lifted her gaze above and to the right of her reflection, and smiled... I smiled back.

1000 Voices speak for compassion. | An extraordinary true story. via @stuckinscared mentalillnessgodandme.blogspot.co.uk

***

MARIE'S VOICE
Michelle Daly was just under 17 years old when, after taking on the role of housemother at Nazareth house children's home in Bristol, England, she first met Marie. Marie had just turned 5.

On that first meeting Marie was in a cot on the nursery floor which was tied to a pipe with rope. She was incredibly thin, of pale complexion, and had a large lump on her forehead. Michelle was told that the child screamed for hours on end and bashed her head on the floor or against the side of her cot.

"I looked at the child's pale face; her eyes were like glass. I thought how strange it was that we stood so close and she didn't reach out to be picked up, as though she was used to being looked at, but not touched" ~ Michelle Daly

The following day Michelle was horrified to learn that not only was Marie dosed up on Librium three times a day (to keep her calm) but also that she was locked in a storage room (and left there alone) for hours on end each day (to keep her out of the way). Staff couldn't possibly be expected to watch over such a challenging child and get the floors shining (priorities! o_O), and the nuns couldn't abide the way Marie (who was unable to walk) dragged her feet over their beautiful polished floors.

Marie was placed on the floor in the pram store room, the door was closed on her and she was left there alone for hours.
Her screams could be heard all over the house, until she either exhausted herself or knocked herself unconscious! She was bought out at meal times and fed a small potion of Librium laced cereal, then returned to the pram room or put in her cot.

Michelle couldn't bear it; she soon found ways to sneak Marie out of the store room and very quickly formed a strong bond with 'her little friend'.

"Come on!" I said, picking her up, "You'll get me shot!" I ran down the stairs with her. She laughed; glad to be rescued. I sat her on the table in the empty Laundry basket while I emptied the drier. For a bit of fun I put the hot nappies over her and she laughed again; she loved to get the attention. I turned my back on her to fill the washing machine, and when I looked around again she was fast asleep; her little face still wet from crying."Michelle Daly

Toward the end of 1970 Nazareth house was condemned and the home office closed it down. Marie was given a bed in a hospital in Taunton for the mentally handicapped; 17 year old Michelle followed her, taking a job in the same hospital and visiting her little friend whenever she could.

"Working in the hospital was like stepping into another world; a world where human beings with over-whelming qualities were classed as sub-normal" ~ Michelle Daly
.
Within a few months Michelle knew she couldn't continue working at the hospital. She also knew she couldn't leave Marie behind. She was getting out, and she was getting Marie out too! 

To cut a very long story, a lot of opposition, and much heartache short; Michelle traced Marie's birth mother who agreed to sign over legal guardianship papers, and (eventually) Michelle was able to take Marie home. 

Michelle was just 19 years old when she took Marie (who was eight by this time) home. Nineteen! A bit of a lass, with her whole life ahead of her, and she chose to take Marie along for the ride. 

It's been one hell of a ride hasn't it 'M'?!  (At this point Michelle is nodding :O)) 

Ask me to define compassion... and I'll answer 'Michelle'. 
Once upon a time (1970 to be exact) in a children's home in England....run by an order of nuns called 'The Poor Sisters Of Nazareth'....there lived a very 'special' little girl.
***
Marie is 50 years old now, a year older than me. I'll avoid a virtual slap by leaving you, Dear reader, to work Michelle's age out for yourself.

Marie has not always found life easy... but she has lived! 

She is still profoundly disabled, but there are things she can do; is encouraged to do. She especially loves playing with her building blocks and colouring books. 

She still needs full time care, and she still struggles (terribly so) on the rare occasions that she has to go in to respite. These occasions aside; she is happy. 

She still has extremely limited speech and understanding, but she understands love... and my word is she loved! 
Once upon a time (1970 to be exact) in a children's home in England....run by an order of nuns called 'The Poor Sisters Of Nazareth'....there lived a very 'special' little girl.

***

Thank you for allowing me to share

God bless you, and all those you love

Kimmie X

***

If you'd like to read more about Michelle and Marie's life together you can find her book here
Follow her blog here >>  http://michelledaly.blogspot.co.uk/
And find her on Twitter here >>  @michelledalyliv


***

1000 Voices for Compassion is such a beautiful movement.... there have been so many fabulous contributions (from all over the world). I would encourage you to check them out if you get a chance.

You can do that by following @1000speak #1000speak on Twitter, or by checking out the FaceBook page here

67 comments :

  1. Aww Kimmie so close too my heart reading this Marie Michelle and you. Me feeling the exact same wanting to pick Marie up cuddle her love her and show her how much she's loved, protect her. Thank goodness Michelle was there to love cherish and protectMarie so much love in her heart for a very special little girl who still is. Love and hugs Kimmie your writing is beautiful and

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    1. Aw, Thanks Sophie, I know this one is close to your heart! :)

      Bless you hun X

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    2. Yeah, thanks Sophie, I know how much love you send our way. You and Kimmie are two peas in a pod, always supportive and always there. xx

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  3. This is absolutely a gorgeous, INSPIRING, wonderful story. Thank yo SO much for sharing it. SO glad Michelle was there for Marie, and rescued her. AMAZING.

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    1. Thanks so much for reading Lizzi, and taking the time to comment.

      I'm glad..so glad! that Michelle was there for Marie :)

      Take care, Kimmie x

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    2. Thanks Lizzie! When I set eyes on Marie at the age of 5 when I was16, I never dreamt we'd grow old together. :)

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    3. Kimmie, you're a superstar to share. For real.

      And Michelle, I LOVE that you get to grow old with Marie. That's rather gorgeous.

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  4. Oh Kimmie what can I say? Many many times I've written about Marie's childhood but you are like a guardian angel in the room with her making us all pause for a while to take a really good look at how sad and lonely she was. All those empty hours with no human contact must have left her in such despair.

    I'm remembering how she pulled my hair that first morning I went on duty. I had never had any dealings with a disabled child, let alone one that was so agressive and it was such a shock. She would not let go and we both ended up lying on the floor with her hands firmly entangled in my bushy hair, the nuns trying to tickle her, shouting 'Let go you little Devil...you defiant little thing..' but she would not and that strong will God gave her has remained like a coat of armour throughout her life.

    People often tell me how lucky Marie was to meet me but I think I was the lucky one. Despite her awful beginnings she has such a lovely personality. She's kind, funny and generous in her own little way and I'm glad God brought us together and reminds us he still cares when times get tough.

    Thank you so much Kimmie for writing such a beautiful piece. It's fantastic what you have done with photos and images and it must have taken you absolutely ages to put together. I am sorry you missed the deadline for stories about compassion but I would love to feature this on my Warrior Mums blog if that's ok with you? I'm sure Marie would be very moved that you walked in her shoes and showed us all what it felt like to be cast out and neglected by people who are supposed to love and care for you.

    You're such a beautiful writer, Kimmie, your love and compassion always shines through.

    Thank you thank you thank you...

    Sending a big hug from me and Marie and lots and lots of love.
    Michelle xx

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    1. Aw Now I'm crying - what are we like eh! :)

      I really did go to her you know M.... I was in tears when I opened my eyes. It was an emotional write, but one that I have thoroughly enjoyed writing :)

      I remember the hair pulling story, and my conclusions as to why Marie exhibited such behaviour were just the same as yours! (Any attention is better than none at all)

      As for the images.... they have given me fab ideas for your xmas boxes this year - I can't wait :o)

      Lots of love to you M, thank you for trusting me with your story. (kiss for Floss)

      Kimmie x

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  5. A terrible story - well written with a good ending. Perfect for #1000Speak - timing be damned. Thank you for writing it.

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    1. Oh Thank you! I was unsure whether to still include the #1000speak (as I was soooo late o_O) But I'm glad I did - It's a beautiful movement! worth highlighting :)

      Thank you for your lovely comment!

      Take care, Kimmie x

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    2. I agree and it's a shame Kimmie missed the deadline due to poor health but she has all her friends who appreciate everthing she does. Kimmie you worked so long and hard on this but it will still be read and as always readers will be inspired not only by your writing but Marie's story. xx

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  6. To Michelle: I am in awe of your compassion and humanity. You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your gifts with Marie and allowing her to share her gifts with you. To Kimmie: this piece of writing was absolutely fantastic. Thank you for sharing your gift. Peace to you both.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading, and for your beautiful comment! I'll make sure Michelle sees it :)

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    2. Thank you for the kind words. I think being one of eight children and having to stick together made it second nature to stick up for Marie. She's taught me so much in life as she appreciates every little thing and has no material inclinations.
      I hope reading Kimmies post has brightened up your day as it has mine and so many other people's. :)

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  7. Kimmie, so beautiful, I cried and cried. Michelle I bumped into you online(and I don't believe this was by chance) I was directed to you and Marie' story for a reason. It was through your story that I had a glimmer of hope in humanity again, your selfless love and more importantly your continued actions against injustice and more importantly your central part in the solution and above all the pure love between you and Marie literally shined through your story in all it's glory. Your story had given me hope in a very dark time and for that I am truly grateful. There are few that really know the profoundness of unconditional love. I learned and understood unconditional love with my brother Joe and he is and always will be my soulmate. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Marcia, thank you for reading/ commenting/ and for being so generous with your RT's today.... It's much appreciated.

      I'm glad the post spoke to you, touched your heart. and very glad that you and Michelle are connected.... she's a keeper :O)

      "the pure love between you and Marie literally shined through your story in all it's glory. " - I absolutely agree, Michelle has had a special place in my heart for a while now, and even more so since reading her book....as for Marie, I can honestly say (though Iv'e yet to meet her) I love the bones of her :)

      I'm so glad you and your brother share 'such love' :)

      Thanks again for popping by the blog :)

      Take care, Kimmie x

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    2. Marcia, you're another lovely friend who is always there to spread the word and support. I know you love your brother dearly and are constantly looking over his shoulder and being HIS voice when times are difficult.
      I look forward to the day when you are able to share your story and we'll all be there for you.

      I am thrilled with the way Kimmie has written this post and so proud to call her a friend. I love this bit:

      I sit down next to her, and imagining that she can see/hear me, as I can her; I say, "It's okay darling.. everything's gonna be okay.. Compassion is on her way.
      She'll be here soon - she'll be your voice, and one day (though she doesn't yet know it herself) she'll be your mum.
      She will fight for you, care for you, love you....and she'll be with you - always."

      Thanks for stopping by Marcia and for your heartfelt comments. xx

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  8. Absolutely no deadline on compassion. This is what they call "evergreen" material, Kimmie. You are fortunate to know such wonderful people, and to be able to articulate their story so well. It was lovely to read Michelle's comments as well.

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    1. Hi Paula, Thanks for your kind comment....I am indeed fortunate, Michelle is an exceptional human being, and one I'm proud to know!

      I hope (desperately) that I'll get to meet her and Marie, in the flesh one day.. though her limitations and my own make it (seem) impossible....I never say never :O)

      "Evergreen Material" - Iv'e not heard that term before....I like it :)

      I hope this week finds you well (and writing :O)

      Take care, Kimmie x

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  9. Just Wow! Really that is all I have to say. This is an incredible story of heartache and sorrow, but most importantly triumph and love and human spirit! Thank you for sharing this. I am off to visit Michelle in the blog world now :)

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    1. Aw Thanks for stopping by Brandy - I'm so glad you enjoyed reading Michelle & Marie's story.

      I'm not sure anything before has touched me as much as these two beautiful souls :)

      x

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  10. This is so heartbreaking reading about how that little girl was mistreated!! Thank you for raising awareness about her and other children with special needs!

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    1. Thanks for reading/commenting Roshni, a heartbreaking story, yes! .. but a beautiful happy ending :)

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    2. I'm glad you linked up this time! :)

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    3. Thanks Roshni, I'm glad too..it's great to be a part of such a beautiful movement :)

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  11. What a moving story, thanks for sharing, Kimmie. Michelle is a true hero to rescue that little girl at such a young age.
    The policy of separating disabled children from their parents as infants was so damaging, and fortunately fashions have changed. But hard to see how it ever made sense to people that giving children with special needs less care and attention than ordinary children when what they needed was more.

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    1. Absolutely! - A true hero. I dread to think what Marie's life would have been without her - whether she'd have been here now even.

      In Marie's case, she was born in a mother and baby home, and her mother couldn't cope. she was therefore placed into the care (I use the term loosely) at six weeks old.

      You'd probably enjoy Michelle's book Anne, it gives the whole story, and my word....it's a beautiful story :)

      Thanks for taking the time to leave your thoughts Anne

      Take care, kimmie x

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  12. Wow. What an utterly amazing story. I'll be hunting down a copy of that book. A remarkable woman to have taken on any child at that age, let alone one with so many problems - which must have been compounded by being kept in a store room alone all the time! It's so sad to think of how many children this sort of thing happened to.

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    1. I agree Vicky, an Amazing story. Michelle is a beautiful soul :)

      There's a link to her book in the post hun, to save you hunting....I've read it a few times now, it's a cry out loud..and a laugh out loud read. Heartbreaking and heartwarming :)

      Thanks for taking the time to read/comment

      Take care, Kimmie x

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  13. Wow that's a beautiful story of compassion. Thanks for sharing it.

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    1. Thanks for reading Catherine, I'm glad you enjoyed Michelle and Marie's story :)

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  14. There's no deadline on compassion this sweeping! I'm so glad you posted the story and given compassion its bold name. A stunning story.

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    1. Thanks for reading/commenting Charli, I'm glad you enjoyed Marie and Michelle's story. Theirs is such a beautiful love!..and as you say "A stunning story" :)

      Take care, Kimmie x

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  15. We could do with a lot more stories like this in the world. Thanks for sharing it with us, it brightened my day.

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    1. Aw, I'm glad it brightened your day Jean :o)

      It's quite possibly the most beautiful tale of love I've ever heard myself. A story worth telling, and one I enjoyed writing :O)

      Thanks for stopping by.. Take care, kimmie x

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  16. I've read this story before and it never fails to move me xx

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  17. Thank you Kimmie for telling this story. Thank you Michelle for your inspiring role in Marie's life. Thank you Marie, for being yourself.

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    1. Aw Trish, what a beautiful comment!

      Thank you so much for reading :) X

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    2. Thanks Trish! I always say God must have had a twinkle in his eye - and certainly a sense of humour to put two such strong-willed characters together. Many people have written about our life but Kimmie did a first and told the story through Marie's eyes - and told it with such insight and compassion.
      Michelle xx








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  18. Thanks so much for linking this up, I missed it before. And what an amazing story. Poor Marie, but thank goodness for Michelle and her kindness.

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    1. Thanks so much for having me Yvonne..and for the wonderful community you've built for us.

      I agree, Michelle and Marie's is an amazing story.. I'm very grateful that she trusted me to share it from my perspective.

      Thanks for dropping by, and for taking the time to comment.

      Take care, Kimmie x

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  19. I am in tears. For the first half of this beautifully written story, you weaved a tale of such heart ache, I couldn't help but cry. By the end, you've driven the story into a brave tale about love, compassion and the binds that tie.

    This is amazing, thank you so much for sharing this, for allowing us a glimpse of something so awful that turned out so right. Truly, truly uplifting.

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    1. Thanks for reading/commenting Starr....I was in tears myself when I first read Marie's story.. and in tears (off and on) writing this piece.
      Marie's is a story that touched me so deeply.

      Michelle is an exceptional human being..I'm proud to call her friend :)

      Take care, kimmie x

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  20. Wow. To say that it is such a blessing that Michelle was there for Marie seems weak and not nearly enough. What an inspirational story. Sharing.

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    1. Such a blessing! Marie's life without Michelle doesn't bear thinking about!

      Thanks so much for stopping by Kelly, and for taking the time to comment....Michelle's reading the comments when time allows, so your kind thoughts will get to her too :)

      All the best, kimmie x

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  21. There are no words to accurately describe the beauty of this story...Michelle, Marie, Kimmie, you are all such beautiful souls. That much is very clear.
    So glad you've shared this story...so glad you've shared a life and friendship. These are the stories people need to hear. Share this all over the place!

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    1. Oh Lisa, what a heartfelt response..you bought a tear to my eye!

      I'm so glad Marie and Michelle's story touched you....it's a story that has touched me so deeply!

      I am lucky to have such a special friend, and Marie..to have been blessed (eventually) by such a special mum :)

      Thanks for stopping by Lisa.. God bless, Kimmie x

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  22. I was very moved by this story. Would you mind if I repost this story on my blog?
    https://proudmommaofgirls.wordpress.com/2015/04/13/redefining-disability-challenge-stress-never/

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    1. Hi Rose.. I'm glad you enjoyed reading the post.

      As it's not my story (I had permission from Michelle to write about her and Marie) I'm afraid I can't say yes to your reposting the entire post elsewhere.

      However, if you are talking about a 'reblog' (Posting a short opening paragraph with a link back here for the your readers to continue reading via the original) I would think that would be okay with Michelle.. and me :)

      Thanks for stopping by,

      All the best to you and yours, Kimmie x

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  23. Some time ago, I clicked on to the picture of Michelle and Marie, shown on the greeting card, on my laptop, my, at the time, my very disturbed autistic daughter, Issy, who was showing little reaction to reading, or, engaging with anyone, saw the photo and stopped intently, when she came in, as usual for juice, and, stared at it, bent down, and pulled the screen towards her, for the longest, she has ever done, on any picture/photo..

    Issy knew not, the 2 people, or, their names, but she clearly, felt their love, and saw something in their look, that we, none autistics, can only guest at.

    And they say, autistics, cannot gauge love, compassion, or empathy, or, even feel it.

    It is they, who are the philistines.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing that, Finola... a very special share. I'll pass your comment on to Michelle, she'll be moved by your daughters insight I think. :)

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  24. What an amazing story. I started off at your Wordless Wednesday post but just had to know the story behind the picture. What an amazing lady! Thank you for sharing this story, it shows that there are still good people out there. x

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    1. Hi Bek...How lovely of you to click through to Michelle and Marie's story... I wondered if anyone would. I'm so glad you did. Michelle is such a gorgeous soul (as is Marie)... as you say, "an Amazing lady :)

      I'm busy with my Littlie today (school hols) so am behind on my Wordless Wednesday hop around, but I'll head over to your place later today :)

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  25. Thank you to linking back to this post through Wordless Wednesday, Kimmie. I have read this story of Michelle and Marie somewhere before. How people treat each other, particularly someone as vulnerable as Marie, is horrendous. And these people supposedly were the handmaidens of God. There is nothing God-like in their actions. What a brave, caring, compassionate young (and older) woman Michelle is, and how wonderful that she found enough love in her heart for Marie. We can all learn from her wonderful example, the embodiment of love. Thank you for sharing, and best wishes all.

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  26. Thank you to linking back to this post through Wordless Wednesday, Kimmie. I have read this story of Michelle and Marie somewhere before. How people treat each other, particularly someone as vulnerable as Marie, is horrendous. And these people supposedly were the handmaidens of God. There is nothing God-like in their actions. What a brave, caring, compassionate young (and older) woman Michelle is, and how wonderful that she found enough love in her heart for Marie. We can all learn from her wonderful example, the embodiment of love. Thank you for sharing, and best wishes all.

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  27. I forgot to mention: Your poems are really beautiful and moving also.

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    1. Thanks so much for reading Michelle's (and Marie's story) Norah. Michelle is an incredible human being... I'm not sure I've ever been touched so deeply as I have been (and still am) by M &M's story. Proud to call Michelle friend :)

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    2. AW, Thank you! I do enjoy writing poetry. It's often a between-the-lines kinda writing. :)

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  28. Thank you so much for sharing Michelle & Marie's life-affirming, heart-touching story, Kimmie. "Amazing love, how can it be..." - M & M's story reminds us all how love and compassion with a real flesh and blood tender touch is like a miracle, it can and does change the world for the better. This is wonderful. Bless them and bless you, lovely lass XXX

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    1. What a beautiful comment, Joyce. Thank you for taking the time to read M & M's story.

      "love and compassion with real flesh and blood tender touch is like a miracle." Beautiful quote, Joyce. A little bit of YOUR heart, penned. (or typed, as the case may be) x

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  29. A beautiful story, beautifully told. So important to remember the cruelty there has been, and still is, but also that there have always been Michelles out there too.

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    1. Thank you. Thank god for the Michelles :).

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  30. What a beautiful love story. The world needs more people like Michelle.

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    1. Thanks so much for reading M & M's story, Barbara. The world could indeed do with a few more like Michelle. :)

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