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The man behind "The fighter"poem

Another important person in my life was, of course, my Dad. I say this because he believed in me even when the professionals such as doctors and other specialists did not want to commit themselves to giving an answer about my future. He was always the one cheering me on when I reached different goals. He did not boast. He just looked on with quiet satisfaction.

A few years ago, Mom brought over a green folder which contains school reports and other documents from my early years and extending to my teenage years and beyond. In one of the feedback reports from the time when I was five or six, Dad had hand-written: “we expect Mary will go to college.” At this time the professionals where I went to school in America, would have set six-monthly goals, but Dad was already setting goals that were years ahead.

This optimistic attitude was, I am sure, very helpful to mom especially during my early years before I had my shunt operation to remove excess water on my brain. Before this surgery I only had a vocabulary of about 10 words, but after the surgery not only could I speak better, but I could move better as well.

I know most of this information through Mom’s book, “Mary, a Mother’s Story.”which was published in 1980 or 1981. This book charts her journey from my early birth to her accepting my disability.

As I grew older into my teenage years and beyond the relationship particularly between me and Dad became strained because of his belief in “Academic Excellence.” Our relationship improved when I moved to my own house where I have been living for 22 years. I am glad I was able to thank him for his belief in me shortly before he had his first stroke. In the end, I hope I was his champion through the nine months of his illness, just as he had been for me when I was little.

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