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Laugh With Lisa: Be Happy

Lisa DeMarco tells how she learned to be grateful for being healthy.

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When I was young, my older sister Melinda, aka Mina, was considered “SPECIAL.” She was born in 1961 with a rare bone disease that made her very brittle. Her bones were like glass, easily broken and very fragile. Growing up in my household there were just some things we all expected and others we knew not to do. Unfortunately, they all involved Mina.

While my other older sister and I did all the things “normal” kids would do, like play with friends and go to school. Ride bikes, go to the park, swim…Mina would usually be indoors either at home or in a room in the Pediatric Ward of the nearby hospital.

For a year, when she was 16, she even had to go away to a children’s hospital in Upstate New York, which was about an hour and a half car ride every Sunday. There, she lived with hundreds of other youths that were “abnormal” in one way or another by either God’s hand or man’s will. Some were born disabled with a mental or physical ailment, yet just as many were there because of pure evil. Babies as young as newborn up to the age of 21. After that it was the parents’ obligation to find an adult facility for their loved one.

The saddest part was some of the residents had been there for years and others would be in the future. Luckily for Mina, her sentence was only one year. Fortunately, for me, what I thought was going to be 365 days of hell for my “favorite” sister turned out to be an experience my entire family will always treasure. Not only because of all the help the wonderful people at the facility offered my sister, but because of all the wonderful times we got to share with all the FABULOUS “special” children that occupied the rooms at Blythdale Children’s Hospital.

It was during that year, when I was 9, I learned what it means to be grateful for simply being healthy, and although it has taken me the last 30-some years to fully appreciate what that means, I have tried to share my blessings every day since.

Laughter is my way. So help me spread the HAPPY feeling, because giggles are ALWAYS good! Remember, Life is short. Enjoy it!


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