Lisa’s Story, by her brother, Brennan
This is my big sister Lisa! My story is that of a sibling who had the remarkable opportunity to be blessed by one of these angels. I’m Brennan, I am the youngest of 4 and my big sister Lisa was born on 13 April 1979. I remember my mother recounting the story of when Lisa was born and the silence in the labour suite and the nurse sitting on the end of her bed handing her a form and asking her to sign it. She refused, without being able to read it first, and the nurse walked away.
She later found out that it was a form to put Lisa into care – something that my mum refused to do and, boy, are we glad! I can honestly say that growing up with my sister was amazing! I know many might think that, due to increased care needs, the siblings may somewhat miss out. But I can assure you we didn’t. In fact, I gained so much more!
My sister taught me how to tie my shoelaces, she taught me how to make a cup of tea, she taught me every bloody word to ‘Smelly Cat’ from Friends. But, more importantly, she taught me how to be the very best person I could be. I mean it wasn’t all plain sailing, but as a child you don’t see the differences like adults do. All I knew was… she was just my sister. My family used to love to tell the hilarious story of me running in to the kitchen at 4 years old, in tears, and proclaiming that Lisa is trying to give me down syndrome. Because she’s made me watch Mary Poppins 7 times in a row… which is ridiculous. But such a child’s perspective, right?
But like with all siblings, we bickered, we fell out, we made up, we laughed, we cried. But more importantly we loved each other! There is no difference. As I grew, I began to understand that Down syndrome came about because of a chromosome. Just 1 chromosome, that was ultimately the difference, and it stood for nothing in my eyes. Lisa was magical! Her enthusiasm, her wit, her bravery and her unprejudiced and unjudging view of the world and everyone in it was amazing. She just loved people and people loved her. My family was blessed the moment Lisa walked into our lives and my siblings and I recount such wonderful stories of her throughout the years.
We each stand today better people having had Lisa’s heart to follow. What she brought to our lives I cannot possibly list! She was just the best person I have ever known! I remember being 18 years old and being woken up at 4am because Santa had been! I remember losing a tooth at 16 after an accident and her being so excited because the tooth fairy was coming. Lisa had a way of filling the world, that gets duller as we grow older, with magic again. She was like watching a Disney movie on a Sunday afternoon!
Unfortunately, I lost my sister when she was 29, not long after my 21st Birthday. To say that Lisa left a big hole in my world is an understatement. But I wanted to honour her memory and also, I wanted the joy back that only someone like her could bring. So, I reached out to Helen at NDSSG, and I feel lucky to have been given the wonderful opportunity to teach football to these angels, and I see my sister in every single face. I can honestly say that those training sessions are the highlight of my week and I am proud and honoured to be part of the lives of these children and their families.