Today I received an e-mail from Brian’s mom, Helen. She was sharing the news of Brian and Lady making front page news, Times Herald Newnan! I asked my husband, ” PLEASE go out to get our paper!” I wanted to read this immediately! It was a lovely article. Right before Christmas, Brian’s dog, Lady woke up gasping for breath. After taking her to the vet. She was found in serious condition. They started a prayer chain, Brian sent out a plea to God, and of course, Santa. The end resulted in Lady improving enough for the family to make their trip to New Orléans for New Years. They also have hope that Lady will live another year which will bide them time to deal with this situation.
All of this inspired me to go ahead and complete my blog for Brian. I have wanted to do this for a while now. He has had such a positve impact on my life. He has taught me so much! Some may look at a person who has Downs Syndrome and immediately think they are not that smart. Well, in Brian’s case, don’t even go there, Mister! He has more wisdom than a lot of us who may think we are wise will EVER have. I have never met anyone who has a kinder and more gentle soul. He does not have even an ounce of meanness. He is smart enough to remain kind and keep a positive attitude when he has every reason not to at times. I’ve seen him in action. This remarkable young man is really quite amazing.
There have been days I have felt bad up until the moment I saw Brian. There is no way you can stay sad around him! He possesses an aura of sweet happiness that emanates from him. He is always positive and uplifting. His compliments come off sincere and never as empty flattery, and his hugs are the best!
He is so appreciative of anything you do for him.Brian is a huge Braves fan Dennis and I once took him to a Braves game. He has attended many Braves games before with his family. But he never forgot that time we took him. Bringing it up from time to time and Re-thanking me. While at this Braves game we were so happy when the camera’s panned the crowd and zoomed in on Brian. He had a few moments on the Jumbo-Tron and he didn’t waste them. He really knows how to “ham it up”. He was a real fan favorite! He enjoyed the applause. Bowing to the crowd. It was a great moment.
He and his family were guests at both my son and my daughter’s weddings. He was the life of the party at the receptions. Brian can dance like a professional! He has rhythm and always excites the crowd . One of my guests actually said they would pay him to come to their wedding and dance at the reception!
I have known the Ziifles for a long time. When my kids were small I wanted to make a little money, but didn’t want to be away from my kids. I decided to solicit a few houses to clean. I started working for the Ziifles. Sometimes I brought my kids when Dennis wasn’t home to watch them. Brian always remembers when they used to come over. He used to set up a movie or video game for them. He was so good with them. Recently his mom asked if I would go to his condo and work with Brian on cleaning. Sort of teach him how to clean his condo. I went over to do this. Brian was ready to get started. Excellent attitude. He was also so quick to pick up anything . Actually, his condo wasn’t in bad condition. He was really doing a good job already. There were a few areas he needed to improve. I was giving suggestions and he said something I thought was so sweet and funny, “You know I could probably do a better job cleaning if I didn’t have to carry Lady around all the time!” Oh my goodness! He loves that dog! He cannot stand to hear her whine even for a minute! I told him that he had to just put her in her bed sometimes and do what he had to do. It would not take that long. Then he could hold his sweet Lady. Lady loves Brian and has him wrapped around her paw!
Brian has worked at Walmart for, I think, around 20 years. Mostly in the Toy department. His mom told me that she once asked him if he got tired of straightening up after kids day after day. After thinking a minute he replied, “I don’t mind. Children are supposed to play.” WOW! Now that is an attitude I know Walmart wishes every one of their employees had! I was in Walmart one day looking for a product. I cannot remember what it was. It has been a few years. I asked someone with a Walmart vest where I might find it. She told me she was off the clock. Asked someone else, they didn’t know…. I went to someone else. They told me, but it was wrong. I ran into Brian. I gave it a shot. I asked him. Thinking maybe he will know, even though it isn’t a toy. And guess what! HE KNEW! None of the other employees I asked had mental challenges that were visible. Yet the one employee that could help me was the one who supposedly was mentally challenged. But Hey, I think not. Brian is pretty sharp!
Another morning he had to go to the dentist for an uncomfortable procedure, a cavity filled , and then to the Doctor to have blood drawn. He had fasted up until this point since midnight because of the blood work. Afterwards he had to go to work, so his mom stopped to pick him up a quick breakfast. He was so happy at this point he said with great feeling, “I’m having a GREAT Day!” How many other people could do that after having a horrible morning like that? His spirit is AMAZING! If more of us could see life through Brian’s eyes, the world would be a better place. Brian is truly intrinsically good through and through. I feel so blessed to have him in my life!
Kudos to Helen for being such a devoted mother. She is so knowledgeable about people with Down’s Syndrome. Her huge heart and love for Brian moved her to find out EVERYTHING about it. This enabled her to push him to do so well. He has excelled and Helen is a huge part of it. His Dad, Bob, Sister, Jennifer, and Brother, Michael are all huge Brian supporters. And Brian is crazy about his family. This family has a bond that I have admired for years. When I’ve offered any compliments their way, they have of course re-directed them. Saying things like, “Countless people in this county have had a hand in Brian’s success.” That is just how they roll. And that is why I love them all so much!
Yes, Brian is Special. and to quote his mother. “it goes beyond the extra folds on his eyes.”
Post Note: I failed to mention a few things about Brian that some may or may not know. Brian was involved with scouting as a boy, and young man. He climbed all the way to the rank of Eagle Scout! This is a tremendous accomplishment for anyone! It certainly was a challenge for someone with his limitations. However, anyone who knows Brian will tell you he makes no excuses! Brian is a Newnan High School graduate as well. As i mentioned previously, he has held down a job at Walmart for twenty years. He lives in his own Condo. He is an actor, he performs in plays in the Atlanta area. And here is the kick, Brian is Catholic, but is in a Jewish Play group. He just rolls with the flow! I could go on an on about my buddy. There may be more Post notes in the future……. I just love this guy!
POSTNOTE: Sadly on Friday, January 17th, Little Lady lost her fight to survive. Brian took her death hard, but handled it very stoically, even taking part in her burial. As if it were his obligation. He will miss his “best friend”. I am sure, but he is open to the idea of getting another dog. I think his condo would seem mighty empty without a little friend to come home to. Dogs are so precious, adding such richness to our lives. But when they pass on it really takes a piece of our heart. Rest in peace, Sweet Lady.
Postnote: February 9, 2014….Last week Brian got a new little Yorkie. He named her Belle after Belle on the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast. She is adorable. I will try to post a picture soon. She is very timid now. The Zifles dog Mitsy is learning to accept her. But Belle is responding well to Brian. I’m sure in a few weeks she will feel at home and she and Brian will bond as BFF’s.
This picture was posted by Brian on his f/b page 5/25. It appears as though Belle is bonding with Brian quite nicely.