Two Hearts, One Love, One Home

Love means you open yourself up to grief, sorrow, and disappointment, as well as joy and fulfillment. Helen and Emily have provided us with an intensity of love that I never knew was possible.
— Barry McCrory
 Helen & Emily share a Christmas photo with their big sister, Sarah (Dec. 1990)

Helen & Emily share a Christmas photo with their big sister, Sarah (Dec. 1990)

Our families at Holy Angels have special stories, but Barry’s story is unique; he has two daughters with special needs. Barry and his wife, Susan, were blindsided in the winter of 1986 when Helen was born. She cried a lot, her eyes didn’t track, and her head was small. Doctors said she was cortically blind and profoundly intellectually developmentally delayed. As parents they learned to cope, negotiate doctors, insurance companies and hospitals.

Being told by their doctors that Helen’s disabilities could not happen again, they had Emily in 1990. Emily was born with the same diagnosis. Despite their intense grief, they were determined to care for Emily at home. There were now two special hearts to love with double the care.

It became overwhelming caring for two children with delicate medical conditions as well as their oldest daughter, Sarah (without disabilities). Even though they were supported by friends and family, they suffered emotionally, physically, socially, economically and spiritually.

One day riding through Gaston County, Barry saw the HOLY ANGELS hedges and decided to do a little research. He visited, introduced himself to a social worker, and shared Helen’s story, who was then placed on a waiting list. Two years later Barry returned and shared he now had two daughters with disabilities. Helen was admitted at age four. Emily joined her sister at Holy Angels in 1993 when she was three.

Susan, as a mother, had to overcome a deep feeling of guilt about her daughters not living at home. These feelings were reduced when she experienced the loving, caring environment at Holy Angels. With the attention from affectionate caregivers, Helen thrived.

Barry shares, “Holy Angels has been a critical source of comfort for me and my family. We were able to be a family because of them.” When asked what home means to Barry he says, “Home is made up of the people, not the structure. Holy Angels caregivers, nurses and staff take the burden off families so they can be the best for their family.”