I work in a field off and on with disabled and mentally challenged beauties. This is the kind of work that either you can do it or you cannot handle it. Handle it as in put up with the whirlwind of emotions on a daily bases that change minute by minute. If you can handle it, the experience is pure joy. Something that I cannot even explain happens to you. Words just cannot even express the pure, rare feelings of happiness, raw joy, compassion and gratitude that happen.
Today a sweetheart of a girl, kind, caring and just a joy to be around was so emotionally upset I shed tears myself ( in the staff bathroom of course). Trembling and shaking, tears rolling down her face she sat there in a corner all by herself. Now this beauty is usually so up beat, positive, energetic with a big hello every morning and a work ethic like no one I have ever seen. The first to grab the broom, the first to get up “to class”. the leader of the exercise class, and always shouting out “good job” to whoever was really trying and today she was a wreck. Sitting in a corner by herself, looking like a scared child all alone in a big world with no understanding of how it works but that sometimes it can be cruel.
I went over to her as soon as I noticed. Overtaken with emotions and not sure how to communicate her feelings, all she could say was “I don’t know what to do?”. I gave her the biggest hug, and wanted to take all her worries away like a mother. She may be older than me I am not even sure, but at that moment, she was a little scared child, not used to anyone giving her a hug ( we are told not to hug the clients), no family around and no knowledge of how to fix emotions, explain herself or why things are the way they are. She just knows to do what she is told and some things she likes and some she does not. I cannot even imagine not knowing what is really out in the world, wondering if a show on tv is a real family or not, what can be done on those cell phone things and believing that with her few cents a day she is going to buy her sister a diamond ring for her birthday.
Her sister as it turns out was the reason for her break down. She had just been to our building for a visit. She moved away over a year ago to another city where she can be taken care of. Both my little sweetheart and her sister are special needs. Due to the fact that her sister has more needs they cannot live in the same house, there is no openings for her in our city so she was moved over 8 hours away to the nearest accommodation’s and visits maybe once a year ( on her caregivers expense).
They used to see each other every day, the buildings that they spent their days at are across the street from each other and with generous hearts of the workers, someone would take her over every day so she could say hi to her sister and they could at least visit and be together since they are the only family they know. Like I had mentioned, she needed to be taken to another city, had just came for her birthday visit and now had headed back. The tears of today brought on by days of wondering when or if she will ever see her again. This is their life, this is what they go through after a visit from the only family they know, because of their state they cannot pick and choose where they live, if they live together, these are things that are beyond their control. Someone in an office who has never seen or met them, asked them how they feel about going somewhere or staying somewhere will make this huge decision for them. This is the same group of people that tell us not to hug the clients, do not get emotionally attached to these clients and do not show emotions at all. Sorry but it is human to have emotions for amazing PEOPLE not just the name “client” they are like my family, a sister, a friend, a momma, a brother that picks on me…….and yes I will hug this lonely little lady who has no one within 8 hours drive that she can say is family, I will hug the heck out of her.
We take for granted when we go home to our families and sit down and have supper, watch tv, go out for a drink and yes even have an argument that it is indeed a luxury actually. We live where we want to, eat what we like not what is made, go where we want and not were the bus is going, decide what to wear and wow even pick it out and not what is purchased for us whether the fit is right or the color is what we like.
Not once have I ever heard her complain, not one day has gone by that she never thanked me for the day, asking each morning if I had a good evening the night before and asking in detail what I did. She is a human being, they are all human beings, with families that although they may not be able to take care of them every day and have to send them to live in group homes, seems to me the visits are far in between, the cards or calls are few in number…….they are forgotten about until we have to call and ask them a question or let them know they are sick. Which is usually taken as a burden of some kind, how could we possibly expect them to take a few minutes to travel to see them do we not understanding they have lives!!!
Now before I get an array of ” that is not how everyone is” you are right. There are great families as well who are more than compassionate and caring this is just one simple story of a sweet girl who has me thinking how fabulous my mediocre world is. I hope this story has explained to you how fabulous your world is too.