"The only advice I feel comfortable giving to everyone is to accept God's gifts. They are out there. You just have to pay attention to what is going on around you."

Thom, Lynda, Ty and Andy were an unusual family. One reason was obvious: both sons—Ty, who was adopted after Lynda was unable to bring a baby to term, and Andy, who was a premie born to Lynda after Ty's adoption and the death of a baby daughter—suffered from severe disabilities. But the real reason they were a special group was the love continually lavished by Thom and Lynda on their two boys. Both sons had constant, compassionate care and, as described in this poignant memoir, were given every opportunity to live happy, typical lives. Thom and Lynda were devoted to one another, their strong relationship making their dreams for their children a reality. Barrett attributes many incidents in their lives to "angels"—unseen hands guiding events, something as simple as a kind word spoken at a critical time. Perhaps the most convincing angel was a man who helped the exhausted Lynda with her groceries when she got on an elevator. He then offered to pray for her, and when the elevator stopped at Lynda's floor, the man disappeared, leaving a rich aroma of flowers.

Barrett's story is a sad one: Ty passed away in young manhood; Andy, whose life involved many complex surgeries and constant medical care, has struggled with over-medicating and recently attempted suicide; and Lynda, "the most unselfish person you would ever meet" died peacefully after forty-seven years of marriage. This book is Barrett's attempt to sustain the happy memories. Though not a trained writer, Barrett stays centered on the positives and moves his story along, so that we agonize and rejoice by turns as he recounts the family's trials. Mainly written for friends and family, Everywhere an Angel could also inspire others, especially parents of special needs children.

Return to USR Home