By Jack Lonergan
I remember when she first came to the house, I loved her, she was so cute and kissable. The only time I didn’t like her as much was when she screamed – but that wasn’t much.
On the other hand, her liking me, no one knows – because they’re not her and she’s not them – but I think she liked me because whenever I walked up to Kate, her face suddenly exploded with happiness and she smiled as bright as the sun.
I guess I could call her “The Little Dragon” because in the Chinese Zodiac she was a Dragon, which is very energetic and full of fun and she was exactly that!
It’s easy to remember when she first rolled over, we were in our first house in Oregon on Skyline Blvd. Me, my mom and Kate were on our play structure in our back yard. We were just minding our own business when my mom said, “Jack look! She rolled over, she rolled over!” But she wasn’t doing it anymore, and then she did it again. “You’re right,” I said “She did, she did!” I ran to get the phone. When I came back my mom called my dad and my dad called his mom and she told her friends and on and on and on. From then on I called everything that she learned her “tricks” and even now that I am nine I can still remember that day.
One day my mom told me that Kate had a small disorder called Down syndrome. Of course, not knowing what Down syndrome was, I asked what it was. She explained that Kate would do everything that other people could do but it would take her a bit longer. Then I said, “so what you are really saying is that she was clever.”
I thought Kate was very smart even though she did have Down syndrome. She could roll over, commando crawl, sit and even talk. To me there is completely no difference between her and anyone else.
In the year 2005 my mom had twins – Joe and Ewan.
They help me remember Kate a lot. Joe reminds me most of Kate. He has a small round head, short brown hair and brown eyes – and that was Kate, exactly Kate.
Editor’s note: Kate was born in November 2000 and died unexpectedly of a rare metabolic disorder in 2002. Using money donated at her memorial, her parents established the Kate Lonergan Resource Center for families of children with disabilities.