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On Thursday, Ralph, Mary, Will and I traveled to Patty’s university apartment to celebrate Thanksgiving with her. 400 miles one way. I had debated if we should go at all. Whether the time and expense were something we should spend. We wanted to see Patty and visit with her…but after all, we are going to see her in two weeks when she flies home after the semester is over.

Ralph cooked a turkey on Tuesday with stuffing. We froze most of it and took it with us in a cooler. We bought donuts at the wonderful donut shop in our community and took them with us as well.

When we arrived, it was immediately apparent that the weeks of work, intense demands of graduate study, part-time work as a teacher’s assistant, and a week of influenza had taken a toll on the condition of her apartment. After some initial hugs, we immediately started to clean it up. The dishwasher was soon running. We made a few runs to the dumpster. Will helped Patty do all of her laundry.

Will stayed overnight at her very small apartment and spent more time teasing her and listening to her. He also mopped her floors, vacuumed, and organized her stuff.

We went out to lunch on Thursday and took her shopping. Will bought her a few more pans for his Christmas gift to her. But by Thursday night, she was starting to study again.

We left the next morning for our nine-hour trip back.

I am so glad we went. As an encouragement to her and reassurance to us that she could make it to the end of the semester. Will’s deep love for his sister was evident in his servant’s heart for her. Evidence that autism hasn’t impaired his ability to show love and empathy. A few weeks ago, he hired someone to give his house a thorough cleaning. He has been working 12-14 hours a day for one client on the east coast and another on the west coast. Yet he endured 18 hours of travel by car to Patty’s university to visit with her and clean her apartment. Today, I dropped him off at the airport in our town for his flight to the west coast.

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