Friday, April 11, 2008
Jill's Play - an emotional roller coaster
Well tonight was Jill's play and it was a rough night.
It started great - I went over to Rocky Mtn and got Jill out of her Bingo party. She had won some popcorn and other treats and had had a great time. I helped her get dressed and we headed out to McDonalds for dinner. She seemed to think that was a lot of fun.
Then after we were through eating we drove over to the Layton High School where the play was to be performed. We got there nice and early so we got great seats and even got to park really close to the main door. We waited for Janene Crosby to show up with Jill's costume. Jill was so excited to see all of her cute friends. Robyn Ballentine was there along with Rachel Donahue and Diane Wiser. All of the leaders were so excited to see Jill - they were hoping she would show up for the production since she had missed the last two rehearsals. Dad and I had just decided she would get too tired with four hour rehearsals Tuesday and Wednesday nights so we made arrangements to have Jill come just for Thursday's production.
The show was titled "Around the World in 80 minutes and it was a cute bright fun production with over 140 handicapped cast members in it. The audience was totally hands on with lots of cheering and booing and clapping and laughing. It is always so wonderful to see how the audience loves these kids and wants to help make the night a total success for each one of the 'stars'.
Dad and Jeff and I were there to support Jill in her great moment. She was one of the can can girls from France and she looked so cute. Her costume had a gorgeous ruffle around the bottom of the skirt with black lace gloves and a fancy feather for her hair. And then each of the girls had on a pair of matching pantaloons - cute!!
I think that Dad and Jeff and I were all very emotionally drained after watching Jill's performance. It was a real eye opener - we know that she is going downhill. I expected to watch her have to be lead out onto the stage and have her hang onto Janene's arm and have to be told each and every step to do and how to do it.
What I didn't expect was the total lack of ability to do much more than shuffle her way along. All of these years of performing and dancing and laughing and singing - and now she is the clinging vine that can't make a move without a leader helping her every step of the way. All three of us talked about how Jill had been Cinderella - the main lead in one of the first productions that was completed. And now she is one of the kids that is so handicapped that she can't make a move without an adult leader holding her up.
This is Jill's wonderful leader Janene Crosby. Janene loves these girls with all of her heart and reaches out to them above and beyond her calling as teacher. Jill is very blessed to have her. They did the whole dance arm in arm like that so Janene could help Jill make it through the dance.
After the production was over and all the hugs and loves were given to the cute 'star's Jill and I and Janene headed back to the dressing room. It was at this point that Janene leaned over and whispered to me...we just got word that Andrea Phillips passed away at 4 pm this afternoon. Even though I knew that she was doing poorly and had been in a coma for three weeks it still was a shock.
One last picture - with my new camera sitting in the dark trying to document the play I tried a different setting and got the 'good' pictures above. This is what I was getting on the 'auto' setting with a flash - I put it in so you could see Jill (center) and Janene (on the right) as they were on stage for the actual performance.
Its the end of an era. Jill and Andrea and Robyn were a threesome that would never end ... or so we thought. Life is fragile and not an easy pull - Jill has been such a major part of my whole life - how much longer will we have this blessing? I know that this will be Jill's last production. When I think to just last year's play and this years there is a whole lifetime of changes.