Gifts, Treasures, Blessings, are all good things we each share at one time or another. Mixed in with that too are the hardships, Illnesses, pain and suffering but what always remains are the Blessings and the ultimate Gift of Love which we each Treasure for all of our days. Danny lived with each of these and we shared them with him throughout his time with us.
We recall how terribly frustrated Dan could be at his inability to express himself adequately in words and also how he suffered in silence at injuries that most of us could hardly bear. Yet his expression of love was a simple caress or just a warm smile. He enjoyed a hug but not too long or too tight!
His multitude of stuffed toys were blessed with his constant moist embrace along with endless hugs. Music offered him great comfort and a secure refuge from times of angst and it really didn’t matter what kind. Although his tastes did change from time to time. Classical, country, great musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar, Cats or The Wizard of Oz are but a few.
I have many fond memories but my fondest is watching him enjoy a campfire at Crimson Lake where he poked the fire with a stick. But moments later decided that one of his toys should enjoy it too and chucked it into the small fire. I managed to rescue it unscathed! Then he laughed and so did I. His sense of humour was legendary!
Dan loved birthdays and all that they held. From the candle lighting on the cake, singing happy birthday, blowing out the candles and the best part of eating the cake! Didn’t matter whose birthday it was!
He was blessed with two loving sisters who tolerated his diverse annoying habits but forgave them all, well, maybe not every one!! Most of all Dan found his greatest comfort in his mother’s attention to the smallest detail. Trimming his nails, brushing his teeth, helping him dry off after a bath and rubbing his back and feet before being tucked into bed.
For me Dan was my boy, my buddy in our otherwise world of women & girls. Not that we were complaining! Most of his workers and teachers were women so we both cherished our father/son relationship. He was a Gift, Treasure & Blessing to our family.
Danny was my baby, my boy and will always remain that way with me. From his birth to the time he moved away, where I no longer was his “mom” so to speak, we had a very close interdependent relationship. I wanted to help, guide and care for his needs like mothers do. Fortunately he was a healthy baby and easy to care for. All we wanted was for Dan to be happy, healthy and loved within our family, so it pleased us to be able to watch Dan grow from baby to child and beyond.
He often surprised us with what he was learning from our efforts. He tried to copy my exercise moves, named a letter in a magazine I was reading at the time and mimicked his favourite Sesame Street characters. His eagerness to learn was clear but in his own way.
It was shockingly obvious of his excitement and urge for independence when Bob & I escorted him to one of his dancersize classes at Red Deer College. As we left the parking lot, he lit out ahead of us like a person on a mission. Normally he followed us but not this time. He loved the interaction with his teacher and the wall of mirrors!
It was always great to watch him enjoy eating his food and he was not a messy eater. Spaghetti was his well-known favourite. He also enjoyed chicken, rice, cabbage rolls and of course any kind of cake! In the course of having students at school learn about how some children only had a small bowl of rice to eat each day, Dan cleaned up his bowl and begged for more!
There were times with Dan that had me worried but I was able to find the help I needed. My greatest hope for Dan was that he be liked and cared for by those around him. During Dan’s final years at Wells, my best wishes were realized. He found his new home and family where he matured at Wells, yet he remains my boy!
Farewell Danny, until we meet again,
Love, Dad & Mom XO ❤️ XO ❤️
What I remember most
is his laugh.
As a kid, his giggle full and juicy,
prompted by tickles, rude noises
and dog licks.
Later, it was mischief
made him chuckle wryly:
the joke’s on you!
It was always gentle slapstick,
nudging you to see
his appreciation, your need to lighten up,
share a moment of pure joy.
He loved corny country music,
birthday cake with ice cream, a good turkey dinner,
dancing the night away with friends.
No stranger to pain, he endured,
a sort of zen acceptance,
innate knowledge that this, too,
So he stayed
in each moment,
savouring the tickles,
the trips, the ice cream and licks
that life dealt,
sharing appreciation for those he loved,
who loved him back,
his smiles and few, but thoughtful, words.
My brother was a comedian,
and a collector of stuffed animals,
a teacher of simple truths,
eater of marshmallows
and watcher of endless musicals.
He was different only
in ways that made him special,
just a regular guy —
and because of that,
Growing up with Dan
Dan was already on the scene when I arrived, so I grew up thinking every family had a Dan. He was a mischief maker, and I learned a trick or two from him. We had an ongoing ninja stealth battle of raiding each other’s closests for the choicest toys, but he often won as he marked them with a good deal of snot, thereby rendering them his forever by his grossed-out sister. Later, I often looked for stuffed toys for birthdays and Christmas presents for him, and one time lucked out with a stuffed gorilla, which he hugged til the poor thing was flat as a pancake.
As we grew up Dan found his own set of friends and community, and I remember him being a party animal who loved to dance. I recall going to an event with him at Michener Centre and he was the Travolta of the dance floor, long after we were all tuckered out. I also went with him and my folks to Kananaskis, where he got a real kick out of me walking into a tree as we went hiking.
I saw him less as we became adults, as I went off to other cities for studies and got married to my husband from Singapore, where we’ve lived since ’95. I got frequent reports of his doings from the folks however, and found that he had a huge social network and seemed to make friends wherever he went.
We’re really grateful for the support he has had, with his health challenges as he got older, and know he lived his best life, taking joy in little things as he always did.
Good journey, big bro, and keep dancin’
Danny was his own person always letting you know how he felt about a situation. He showed and expressed his joy, happiness, sense of humour and also dissatisfaction in an emotional way, leaving no doubt how he felt. We were fortunate to have seen Danny in these circumstances on our Red Deer visits. When we visited I would bring Danny a cap, give it to him, and think nothing more of it. On returning months or a year later, he would see us, and Audrey would ask him if he knew who we were and his immediate response was “Hat,” he remembered! During the course of the visit he would walk by, stop, look at me and say” Hat,” then smile and laugh. We were auntie and uncle Hat.
Danny would be in the room with us and once the noise level or conversation got to where it was interfering with his activity, he would just up and leave, going to his room, never any fuss. His joy showed when his worker would arrive to take him out for an activity or work. Being ready and anxious to go when the ride showed up, he bounded down the steps, down the sidewalk and into the car, you could see his smile from the house. One time while he attended a work experience, Bob asked me to come along as we would be able to observe him. He was doing his job, but also saw us through the window and would look our way. He had a smile but also with the look of, okay I see you, can’t you see I’m busy. We got the message. Danny’s life, with the many challenges and how he faced them, makes us feel fortunate to have been a small part of his life. . A true warrior “ Danny Boy”.
~Our love, Aunt Donna and Uncle Jerry
My oldest son wasn’t very old when he first met Dan; maybe five. He had just started BMX racing and I took Dan to the BMX track one evening to watch the races. He enjoyed sitting in the bleachers watching all the excitement.
At the end of Brian’s race, he came running over to the bleachers, plopped down beside Dan and proceeded to go into his commentary about his race. I was about to remind Brian that Dan didn’t like people sitting so close to him, but Dan took that moment to remind Brian himself. Brian jumped up, moved over, said “Oops, sorry Dan” and kept right on talking. At 32, Brian still remembers that day.
It made me laugh when Dan was dancing with his hands swaying and hips moving.
He had some very high expectations of me that I wasn’t sure I was going to live up to. He showed me so much patience and kindness that I couldn’t help but instantly want to form a lasting friendship with him. He hugged me when he thought I was sad, tired or frustrated. He complimented my hair, which helped me decide the hair products to go with. He knew I had a fear of balloons and would take them away from any area I was in. He was one of the kindest people I have ever met.
Dan loved his spaghetti, his balloons and watching the birds in his window in his bedroom. Dan used to say my name and made me so happy.
He would yell, then when we entered his room, then he would would stop, suddenly displaying a Happy Face.
Favouite memory of Dan: Going for walks and watching movies together.
Dan liked summer, he liked going to the Mall. He enjoyed eating ice cream & burger, watching movie, playing his guitar, music, and loved going out.
Favouite memories of Dan:
When we both sing Yellow Submarine then he start dancing, I play guitar, he listen attentively even if I don’t really know how to play guitar. Just having fun.
I was brushing his teeth then he said “Wak you” after. A new staff said “He swear at you!” I told new staff that Dan was saying “thank you” with a smile.
He’ll make noises at night when I check on him, he gave a gentle look and smile, reposition himself and fall asleep.
Favouite memories of Dan:
His great sense of humour and he loves attention from those around him.
When Emelyn wears his favourite T shirt with a picture on it. He would lean forward to kiss the picture on it.
Yelling nonstop for no good reason and after that Dan would flash his contagious smile saying I am done yelling. Are you?
When Dan is in the living area with the girls and if of one picks a fight with one of the roommates, Dan will yell meaning “stop it, I am the man here” and they all laugh out!
Dan being a joker:
When one of the staff ask him if he miss Ella when Ella was on hoilday. He said “NO!”😂
Favouite memories of Dan:
Dan and I singing, “Shave and a Haircut, two bits.”
Playing toys together at the dining table, with the piano and the toy animal with lights going different colors.
I spent time with Dan going for long walks at Heritage Ranch.
On behalf of Dan’s parents and sisters, thank you for sharing your memories with us. They made us smile :)