Ella: The Real Story of an Ordinary Mother’s Journey with Her Extraordinary Daughter
Ark House, $22.95
Ella, Madeleine’s daughter was born with Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, a condition that seems to affect almost every part of her: her moods, her learning abilities, her behaviours, her ability to eat and drink, her internal organs, her sight, her hearing and her limbs.
Her life becomes a series of medical appointments and operations.
This is not a story with a happy ending of a miraculous cure. Ella’s life and the life of her mother remain very difficult.
Madeleine Witham writes truthfully of the difficulties of raising a child with a disability, her fears for her daughter’s future, the minimal support she receives, the financial problems, the time consumed without her ever fulfilling her dreams, the pain in seeing other children develop normally and watching and hearing Ella suffer.
Ella is a bitter sweet book, rather like the story of Pandora’s box, where terrible things were released into the world, but hope was released too.
Although Ella will never recover, Madeleine has not given up on life. Her Christian faith, her family and her church provide comfort.
She also believes that Ella’s life has purpose. She writes, “God will use Ella to teach all who comes in contact with in her life what it is to really love, without expecting anything in return.”
Ella is a good book to read when you are feeling sorry for yourself.
By Katy Gerner