Butterfly Fund

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Sandra Ann Collins Neff ~ 20 Years of Sunshine and Love!

Sandra Ann Collins Neff

My reason for starting The Butterfly Bonsai

My child. My child who is now gone. My Sandra.

Sandra Ann Collins Neff
Sandra helping to plant flowers at the housing office on Fort Polk.

Sandra was born July 3, 1990. She was 6 weeks early, but still weighed in at 6 pounds 11 ounces.
Sandra was born with a genetic defect called 18Q-. Nope, you have not heard of it, and probably never will.
She had both physical and mental handicaps. But, she was exceptionally smart and genuinely loving.

Sandra proud of her 1st place ribbon for the County Special Olympics.
Sandra loved being a part of The Special Olympics. She did several sports. Softball throw, long jump, bowling, and basketball. In the picture above, she won 1st Place in the softball throw that year in the District games. 
Sandra stayed active in Special Olympics from grade school through high school. Both summer and winter games. Many times, she would have to not compete in the summer games, due to inability to tolerate the heat, but she would at a minimum be there for her fellow athletes.
When we had Sandra's funeral, The Special Olympics of Louisiana were very kind and sent us a Special Olympics flag for her casket. We now have that flag in a case in her room.

Sandra Loved to Smile!

When I talk about 20 years of Sunshine and Love, that is what I mean. Sunshine. Sandra smiled almost all the time, and had true love for everyone within her sight. Sandra never knew a stranger. She loved everyone, and honestly believed that everyone loved her. This could get very scary, especially when she was younger, as she would go off with anyone. People used to think I was the most horrific mother, because I had to keep her on a leash if we went shopping. At that time, they did not make the leashes that they do for children now, so I modified a really pretty pink cat leash and let Sandra help me to make it all hers. I would keep it clipped to her belt loop. It only took one time of her slipping away from me, that I incorporated this into our lives. I was terrified of what could happen. So I braved the insults and nasty looks. I kept my child safe.

 This is the only time we ever went on a "vacation". Sandra got to meet The Grinch, Rocky & Bullwinkle, The Cat in the Hat, and a few other characters.
Sandra and her sister loved this vacation.
Their Papa provided this truly wonderful experience for them.

Do not get me wrong, Sandra's mental handicaps also involved psychological handicaps, and not everything was peaches and cream. We had our problems. But I choose now, to only look back onto the great memories. Because even with all the bad, I would gladly give anything to have her back within my life and home. I miss my child.

Sandra loved racing. NASCAR style. Her daddy, loves NASCAR also. But that is the only thing they have in common with that. Sandra loved Jimmy Johnson. She thought he was "The Bees Knees". Her words. She would have loved to have met him, but we were never able to afford a NASCAR race. But she did get to see one of his cars at Lowe's, and the mechanic that was there, gave her a set of lug nuts from his car. She was in heaven with that one. She did not stop talking about that encounter for over a month.
Me? I like going to the fights, and watching a hockey game break out. :)

Sandra had her first date, shortly before she left us. She was invited to the Jr ROTC ball by her dear friend.
She got to dress up, and I do have to admit that she was BEAUTIFUL! Angelic even! She had the most fabulous time! This is one of my most favorite pictures!

Sandra's first date

This is why I started The Butterfly Bonsai! My Sandra! 
My mother taught me how to cook and garden, but my Sandra, taught me how to love.

Sandra Ann Collins Neff
Named for my mother: Sandra Ann Brown
Born: July 3, 1990
Left us: January 9, 2011 - My mother's birthday

~ 20 Years of Sunshine and Love ~