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March 08, 2017


Karen O'Brien

Powerful piece. Truly wonderful and uplifting.


What an interesting piece. Helps to give the reader a glimpse of life when living with disability. More please!

Aideen McQuistin

Most insightful and touching. All the more powerful being shared on International Women's Day.

Susan Woythaler

A very touching and beautiful piece...it is comforting to know that there is kindness in this world. Thank you for sharing...

Teresa kirwan

Brought a tear to my eye, what a moving and beautiful encounter & so eloquently written .

Marcia Talley

Valerie is getting some comments via Facebook that I thought I should share with you.

Emma says: What a lovely piece! The thing that struck me most was Josh’s one word “why”. Something that many of us in our culture think, but wouldn’t say.

Alison writes: Gave me goose bumps! Write more Valerie.

And this, from Sue: Wow Valerie, you dark horse, what a talent. Beautifully written, a great snap shot into Josh's life and a debunking of stereotypes. I loved it. I'm going to pass it on to a few friends who I know will enjoy it and especially Mary and Hayley who had a connection with Josh recently.

Shirley is "speechless and weeping."

Thank you Valerie.

Valerie Healy

I'm overwhelmed by the kind and encouraging responses I've had to the story from all those who have read it- thank you, each and every one of you for your comments!
I now feel I lived up to Marcia's confidence in me- thank you Marcia for all your interest and valuable guidance.
The one sadness in all this is that Josh will never be aware of his role in his story..


Alison Collings

..gave me goose bumps!
Write more!

Isobel Thomas

What an evocative piece of writing! I can picture the situation so clearly and had slightly sweaty palms wondering what Josh would do next. It's a huge credit to you that Josh was so polite and wonderful that the object of his curiosity was so kind and gentle. It was probably a memorably good event for all of you, not least the sweetie in the Burka who must be so used to being ignored or treated with a certain element of fear in some cases.

Dean James

Thanks for sharing this, Valerie. A beautiful and moving story.

Valerie Healy

Thank you Dean. That's kind of you to say so.

Teresa Bowen

An inspiring story of a mums love , an innocent &!curious
Josh & a strangers kindness . Beautifully written . Thank you Valerie .

Pam Baldwin

Beautifully written Valerie! I can hear your voice and Josh's curiosity loud and clear, combined with traveling anxiety and your endless patience. Looking forward to seeing you all this summer. xo

Geraldine Hayes.

Dear Valerie,
What a beautiful piece of prose- so powerful and so evocative. I was standing beside you hearing your voice, watching events unfolding and desperate to know what happened next. What a star Josh is and what a heart warming tale.
Thanks for sharing it Valerie, I loved it.

Mary Meller.

Thanks for sending this on Sue. I found it incredibly moving from many aspects.

Rachel Hirst

Hi Valerie. Thank you for sharing this. I have been thinking about it all day. I was worried while reading that Josh had raised the young lady's headgear!!
n a kinder world there would be more people with Josh's curiousity and honesty and less of us frightened and unsure of the unknown! Maybe we all need to ask 'why?'
I'm cross with myself for wondering why she felt she needed make-up..why wasn't she happy with how,she looked?
I have so many more thoughts.
Can I share it?
Love Rachel x

Valerie Healy.

Please do share it Rachel.
Its a gentle lesson for us all..in that we shouldn't have preconceived ideas about people.
I genuinely couldn't see why she wanted to buy make up when she wore a Burka. But as I saw her eyes, well, I thought ' my goodness, how beautiful are you'. She was stunning. And I guess it gave her pleasure to feel attractive and confident when she was in female company...I don't know. She left me wishing I could apply make up like that. Truthfully, I felt ashamed of my initial opinion.
Her genuine kindness and patience rendered me mute. It taught me a lesson.

Mary Miller,

Lovely piece. Two people who understood one another from the start.

Melody Kidner

That was quite lovely. To me it looked like kind and gentle heart meets kind and gentle heart eye to eye- wish this scenario represented more of the world.

Carole Paul

I love the piece and could visualise it so well- could just see Josh being puzzled. It's so well written and very moving.


Uplifting story, made me smile with a little tear!
Let's have some more!

Triss Stein

Thanks to both Marcia and Valerie for sharing this lovely story


Joshua's is a most concise and profound inquiry. The profundity is not in his asking the question, but rather his patience in honestly and merely listening to her answer. What wisdom Joshua! Thank you.


Beautifully written, Val.... so well, in fact, that I could vividly imagine being there, and seeing it unfold. Josh's curiosity is only what we think, but are afraid to actually ask.
Write some more, please!


What a moving story of Josh and the lady in the Burka, the beauty of innocence.


Well done Mum.very good. A-


You have me an A- ?


Yes. It was very good but the conclusion needed a little work.


Well, my conclusion was that I was indebted to her for her kindness to Josh. And her inclusivity. So many of the public back away from a conversation with him and ignore his greetings of 'hello'- particularly those in the U.K. You've seen that for yourself.
I find Americans so warm and inclusive. They engage with him and joke about with him- its heartwarming to watch. I want to hug every individual who does that! I want to say 'thank you, thank you so much for not ignoring him and for making him feel good about himself'. Your brother doesn't realise there are social boundaries - he just desperate to talk with the limited vocabulary he has.
Mum x


I was moved by your story. I thought it was superbly written and I could feel Josh's presence and personality.


I,like everyone else have been deeply moved by your prose, I felt I was there too. Knowing Josh it gave me a deeper understanding of the situation and the constant anxiety you experience.


A lovely tale- and very well written. Ice to discover a hidden talent. We'll look forward to reading more!


Loved loved it. Keep writing.


Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed your piece.


Dear Valerie, I have just read this wonderful,piece about Josh. Very well written and articulate. It is a fabulous story, Valeie, knowing Josh as we do. It touched us all here.


Congratulations! I've always said you tell a good story. Well done. How exciting. I've only just managed to read it as we've arrived at our hotel and finally have WiFi.


A lovely tale- and very well written! Nice to discover a hidden talent. We'll look forward to reading more!


Your story is a lovely account of mutual tolerance seen through the eyes of innocence. The sight of Burkas in international airports and some European countries is somewhat startling. So Josh's reaction was absolutely normal.
The most striking experience I ever had was at Dubai airport where underneath the Niqabs and Chadors women were flashing Haute Couture...Gucci,Versace, Chanel, along with sophisticated make up and accessories.

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