Natalie Rose, or as I oftentimes call her, my "special sister", was born typical but fell into a coma that left her brain damaged at 27 months of age. My mother quit her profession, nursing, to care for Natalie full-time while raising her three other children.
For most of my youth, I prayed to God for her to "normalize" and talk to me. I wanted the typical sister bond. You see, she has the cognitive level of a 10-month old. I have a 5-year old who has far surpasses Natalie's development, it is so strange to me.
Natalie does not talk but moans, wears diapers, has to be fed and loves to live in jogging outfits. She relies on us for her livelihood and her day-to-day care; medication, baths and hugs. I love this woman so much and want to give her the best quality of life while she is on this earth with me. I also love my mother and want her to enjoy her life and delegate Natalie's day-to-day care to someone else, that we trust.
On April 1, 2012, I learned someone hurt Natalie. I learned she was raped and given a painful STD at an outside caregiving facility that she attended on a daily basis in the Community.
My mother and I have been her endless advocates. Despite being special needs, she is a human being with thoughts, feelings and emotions; just put some french fries or a chocolate bar in front of her, or look into her sparkling eyes and feel the love pouring out of her soul.
She wants to connect. I am sure she wants justice for the crime that she was never able to tell us about. Welcome to Natalie's Voice.
Photo Courtesy of Stacey Pentland Photography