cappuccino tasted delicious. Kitty and I were half way through our walk round
the lake, so we stopped for a rest. I cherished those walks so much: the fresh
clean air, the mountains close by, the green pastures, the sheep and this new
found acquaintance, who I sensed could become a life
long dear friend. An American and an Argentinean together in
this little mountain paradise in southern
had arrived 2 years before from
this small community, I was having a very difficult time adapting to the local
Italian culture. I say I am an Argentine
by birth with an Anglo Saxon heart because of my formal education as an English
teacher and my frequent visits to friends and family in
day, I heard that his wife, Kitty, had come to visit. I vividly remember the
English ladies, who had already met her, telling me: “You’ve got to meet Kitty.
She’s very bubbly. You’ll like her.”
They were right. I did, and before long, we started going for our walks,
and sharing, talking about our pasts, expressing our opinions and getting very
close in a very short period of time. At that point, Dan and Kitty were in the
process of deciding whether or not Dan was going to accept a position in
Back to the cappuccino. I was telling Kitty about how I missed my work as a
had come up with the idea that maybe I could communicate with somebody on line.
I thought of physically disabled people (quadriplegics, for instance) who use
the computer as a means of communication with the world. So I searched the
Internet for organizations, like the Christopher Reeve Foundation (Christopher
Reeve had been a model of strength for me in a moment of a deep crisis when my
son was born) and many others. But I got no answer.
was talking to Kitty about all this when she said: ‘Dan has an aunt who has
been in a wheel chair for 50 years.’ Without thinking I just said: ‘Maybe you
can get me in touch with her.’
this point, I must admit (and Kitty will agree) that we will never know what
happened because we never talked about this aunt again.
passed. Dan and Kitty went back to the
– as that day in the lake when she had mentioned Ann – I felt that strange
feeling in my guts. Anticipation, perhaps? Vivian
didn’t have an Internet connection then so it was impossible to communicate
directly with her.
came an email from Kitty telling me Vivian’s sad
story: how her boy friend and father had both deserted her after her accident,
just when she needed them most. Now that ‘male desertion’ was something I knew
all too well! When my son Tomas was born and we were told he had Down Syndrome, his father couldn’t take it and left. He never
overcame his rejection, one of his points being: ‘He’ll never be able to go to
make things worse, when Tommy was only 20 days old, my mom was diagnosed with
pancreatic cancer. Being an only child, with only my wonderful but shattered
dad to share this whole crisis with, I went through some extremely difficult
times. But I survived! Then, I met Antonio and you already know that
thought maybe Vivian and her mom could benefit from my story. It wasn’t just to
cheer them up; I was going to talk from my heart and my own experience. If I
had survived and managed to find happiness after the multiple traumas of the
last few years, I knew anyone could. It’s that feeling of sharing that is so
healing, when you realize you’re not alone with your pain, when you connect
with other human beings who’ve been there but have made it through.
wrote my story and even sent pictures. After that, when Vivian finally
discovered the benefit of embracing new technology and got internet service, I
sent her an email, very shyly, asking her if we could communicate. I’ll never
forget the emotion I felt when I got her answer. I was moved, happy and
excited! “Yes!” she said. “I’d like to be your friend!” Those words just filled
few days later Kitty also gave me Ann’s email address.
Ruthie Maxwell is the most extraordinary human being I have ever met. We
started chatting immediately … and we have never stopped! We chat every single
day, except for weekends when my husband takes over the computer. But those
days we send email!
around the same time, Kitty connected Ann with Vivian and this “sisterhood of 3
continents” started to develop.
know it’s a cliché to say: “There are no words to describe…” But really, how
can I begin to explain how my life changed after this? Both Ann and Vivian are
a big part of my life. I think we’re even beyond a common friendship. There’s
an invisible energy of light running through the Internet when we meet!
is 71 years old. When she was 17 she was in a car wreck which broke her neck
and took the life of her mother. She’s been through all kinds of experiences in
these 53 years. You can not imagine all the challenges she had to overcome, yet
she is full of life, strong, and has an incredibly wonderful sense of humor.
She’s caring and loving towards others and not at all the kind of needy person
who could be – in all her right – constantly complaining about her fate. I
think she might be the longest surviving quadriplegic on earth. She’s a gift in
is 23 years old. Three years ago she was coming back from a vacation with her
boy friend when they had a car crash. She broke her neck and has been confined
to a wheel chair with the same type of injury as Ann. Vivian is a sweet,
loving, tender girl. She’s always so thankful - when I really feel it is I who should
be thankful to her for having her in my life and filling my heart with her
calls me ‘Aunt’ and she calls Ann ‘Grandma’
once a week, the three of us get together to chat online. We, from three
continents, three different cultures, three different generations, are joined
by this strong feeling of connection. So far away geographically, yet so close
at heart. There is this indestructible bond between us which is simply love in
its purest form. What we share is unconditional love because we’re happy just
giving! When we are together we often
think of the United Nations. If people could leave their differences behind and
get close enough to see one another’s heart, they would discover this powerful
link of love and we would find that hatred and violence have no place in this
would like to thank Dan and Kitty for getting us together in the first place
and for everything they have done to help Vivian. It is unfortunate that she lives in a country
that provides very little for the care of its disabled citizens. I must admit I
am so lucky to have left
most of all, I’d like to thank Our Lord for this wonderful plan He had in store
for us. We three have been through and continue to go through so much. Life is
full of ups and downs, however, now I trust that the glory of this loving
sisterhood will support us forever, sharing both tears and laughter.
always nurture our dream of actually getting together one day. Who knows? God
has so many surprises for us, as he has shown us! Anyway, right here and now, in our everyday
lives, we’re there for each other inside this wonderful and magical circle of
Gomez is a qualified counselor from
is willing to be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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