Patti Ann McDonald, wife of NYC policer officer, Steven McDonald, and now mayor of Malverne, was the keynote speaker. Theirstoryriveted my since the time it happened. His forgiving of his assailant and her decision to stick with and by her paralyzed husband always tugged at my heart.
She spoke of the event and their life immediately after. She spoke of her husband's forgiving the gunman and of their new, deeper faith in God.
She also went on to speak of what it is like to live with and care for a handicapped person, whether physical or mental, and the trying and often God questioning times. How could God have let this happen, why her, a young newlywed and eight month pregnant bride? She was just begining her life and she was then handed a burden for her to carry on for the rest of her life. This is when she opened my soul and looked inside - it was almost as if she was speaking directly to me . I was moved to tears. I realized that I am not alone in my journey, having to care for my handicapped brother, and that other people get as discouraged as I, but they get through it.
I mentioned this whole thing to a friend of mine, who also is the sister of a mentally handicapped man and she said "you were meant to be there and hear her speak." She was so right; I was able to look inside my soul and make room for all that my brother gives me, realizing that it will always be hard, but I can get through it.
On another note, sitting in the chapel that day, I got emotional just thinking about my son and his experiences, not only in that chapel, but in that faith filled school and how quickly life sped up to get us to this point in his life - a Sophmore in High School - and as usual I got teary eyed!