In the morning, she could crawl across the room beside a child tracking an invisible path over and over again — laughing, tickling, loving. In the afternoon, she would speak passionately about possibilities and give guidance to moms and dads who came to our home from around the world to learn how to help their children with autism. At dinner, she would embrace her own six children with ease and caring and with endless patience to listen to the stories of the day and encourage communication, always sharing affection with big smiles and gentle touches. Later, she could put on a blue shirt with a simple scarf — and look in my direction, then take my hand and hold it so very tight — IN HER EYES AND IN HER HEART! She never stopped…the next day, another family to help, another mom to console, another dad to inspire, another child to understand and love…then always turning to her own children with the same concentration and caring…then back to me. Maybe it was because we worked together throughout the day…and carried the same torch and the same vision — that I never felt separate from her, even if we were in separate rooms or different buildings. But I also always could stand apart and look at her and think, “Thank you, God, for my best friend and for my amazing girlfriend and this lovely angel in my life.”

It’s been decades since I took this photograph…and as I gaze at it and share it with you, I am aware that I see even more beauty, more wisdom, more laughter, more joy than ever in Samahria, still my very best friend and my amazing girlfriend and now a lovely angel not only in my life but in the lives of thousands and thousands of people.

Thank you, Samahria

~ Bears Barry Neil Kaufman (Co-Founder with Samahria Lyte Kaufman of The Option Institute, The Son-Rise Program and the Autism Treatment Center of America & Author of “Happiness Is A Choice” and “To Love Is To Be Happy With” and “No Regrets”)

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