Through it all, a song from the heart
I sleep across the hallway from an angel named Kelsey.
Kelsey, my special-needs daughter, is more work than I ever could have imagined.
In spite of that, she is one of the sweetest people to walk on Earth.
Or should I say roll. It’s either a walker or wheelchair, whichever gets her around.
And when she rolls, she rolls with a tender heart and kind smile.
Since birth, Kelsey has had cerebral palsy. She has always wanted to walk on her own, like most babies do by 18 months.
However, CP has prevented her from doing so.
Kelsey has had dozens of surgeries, four decades of OT, PT and other therapies, weekly swimming, and casts on every limb.
We did as much as we could possibly do to help her to walk without the equipment.
In 1989, when Kelsey was almost 12, she had a dorsal rhyzotomy, a new spinal cord procedure for children with cerebral palsy. Kelsey was the fourth in the country to have this surgery. As a family we prayed for a long time about this operation.
If you can, stay with me for a minute.
That same surgery year, the movie "The Little Mermaid" was released.
"The Little Mermaid" was a wonderful Disney movie with beautiful songs. It was a huge success, bringing in $84 million at the domestic box office during its initial release and $233 million in total lifetime gross worldwide.
Anyway, there was one day in Kelsey’s life I will always remember. After Kelsey had seen the movie a few times, I heard her singing the song in her bedroom.
Although, a little off key, she sang, “Part of your World.” It was the sweetest rendition.
I was washing dishes at the kitchen sink while she sang enthusiastically.
“I wanna be where the people are . . . I wanna see, wanna see 'em dancin', walkin' around on those – What do ya call 'em? – Oh, feet."
“Flippin' your fins you don't get too far . . . Legs are required for jumpin', dancin', strollin' along down a – What's that word again? – street"
“Up where they walk, up where they run, up where they stay all day in the sun, wanderin' free, wish I could be ... part of that world.”
Her sweet lilting voice had me focused on her life of wanting to walk.
Oh Kelsey how I wished you had strong feet where you can be jumpin’, dancin’, and strollin’.
Well, this year is 2020 and it’s been 30 years since Kelsey’s surgery.
During the past five years, as Kelsey continues to age, her feet hurt all the time. She still chooses to walk with her walker. However, she is growing weaker, sometimes falling, and she’s in a lot of pain.
Every day, I pray for Kelsey’s feet.
At the same time, we have taken the ortho trail, petitioning doctors to help her.
A few weeks ago, when I was gone, Kelsey was having an extremely rough evening. She asked her staff to help her feet.
We have written into Kelsey’s plan, when she hurts, to call Mom, pray with her or obtain a priesthood blessing. Most often the staff will say a prayer with her.
But that night, Kelsey asked to pray.
As Kelsey bowed her head, the first words she said were, “Heavenly Father, I am thankful for my feet”.
Of all the things in this world, she could have asked God to do for her, like heal her feet, she chose instead to thank Him.
I have no doubt where Kelsey will live after this life. God needs more angels to do His work.
And I pray that I will someday ... be part of her world.
Diane Mack is coordinator of Putting Families First, Jackson County's Family Week Foundation. Email her at Director@jacksoncountyfamilyweek.org.