A soulmate is someone to whom we feel profoundly connected, as though the communicating and communing that take place between us were not the product of intentional efforts, but rather a divine grace. - Thomas Moore
In this blog, we hope to bring forward Gay’s personality, the way she expressed her dreams and wishes, and the intentional choices she made about her mobility in a world not designed for her. As we have remembered her life over the last couple of months, we often talk about the romantic love of Gay’s life, Tim.
Tim and Gay met at one of Gay’s favorite places “SCHOOL, SCHOOL!” or the Intermediate School District in Monroe county. Part of her attraction to school was being around her peers, engaging with other students, and riding the “school bus” (topic for another blog post).
At the ISD, Gay met Tim, a twin brother and person with developmental disabilities who could walk. Tim would say to his Mom,” God, Mom, doesn’t she look good ”. He was completely enraptured by Gay (weren’t we all!) and she found him quite handsome and wonderful as well. They visited in the school hallways and went to several dances at the school together. The picture posted for this blog is the two of them at our farmhouse growing up, where we sponsored a pool party for Gay and her classmates.
During their later teenage and young adult years, Tim and Gay navigated their relationship and varying abilities finding their own way of communicating, using language the rest of us could not understand and making faces at each other, often laughing together. Dad remembers the first time he heard Tim speak. Tim had been traumatized by a teacher as a young boy for behavior the teacher couldn’t figure out how to manage and resorted to putting a bag over his head. Tim rarely spoke around strangers but we knew he finally felt safe with us when he saw the way my Dad loaded Gay and her wheelchair in our van and blurted “so that’s how you do that!”.
Gay was so in love with Tim, that she also began questioning her choice to use a wheelchair instead of continuing to endure surgeries and uncomfortable leg high braces to walk. Yes, Gay chose her wheelchair, which we often referred to as her “wheels”. But then there was Tim, and the kids her age, sitting at the back of her beloved “school bus”. Because my Mom was so good at listening to and engaging Gay about her thoughts and wishes, Mom figured out that Gay wanted to sit in the back of that bus and couldn’t because wheelchair equipment was located up front where all the younger kids were situated. My parents went back to the doctors and therapists and I remember vividly the braces, the walker, and walking bars. It was more physically difficult to walk, slow, less free, and Gay soon chose to go back to her wheelchair. And guess what, Tim didn’t care, he still loved her.
For many reasons, Tim and Gay never lived together or married but their relationship endured the rest of Gay’s life. We have wonderful memories of Tim buying Gay earrings for Christmas, of always noticing what earrings she was wearing and listening to him talk to his Mom about every detail of what Gay wore at school that day when my parents called to talk to her on the phone.
When Gay and my parents moved up North, Tim continued to send presents and worry over Gay when she was sick or had surgeries. Tim’s brother Tom took Gay, Tim and me on a glorious ride in his Mustang convertible (Gay loved sporty cars!). And the last visit Gay and Tim had together, my Dad chaperoned them as Tim drove Gay around in a golf cart. Time and distance had not diminished their joy and love for each other and my parents will always keep that treasured day in their hearts.
Tim and Gay were truly soulmates and constantly reminded us the love can transcend all, no matter the barriers or challenges.