The next story will be out of sequence for the time-line of my experiences. It happened today and I thought that maybe a tale of the impact that we can have and how experiences can impact us at the same time would be appropriate at this time.
The agency I worked for put me in charge of a home for 8 people. I only worked there for some 2 or 3 months as I was ready to retire.
I have now been retired, sort of, for 5 years and am living some 50 miles from the home above. I am grocery shopping for Christmas dinner to share with my children and grandchildren. As I go down the isle of the supermarket, I notice a man pushing a grocery cart. He is short, slender, bent over and with head down slowly making his way down the isle. I pass him I stop. I know that man!
I wander back down the isle for another look. Yes, it is him. I tap him on the shoulder and say:
“Don’t I know you?”
He looked at me for a minute and then, and then, after some 5 years, he threw his arms around me and gave me a hug.
I guess you would only have to hear him talk to tell that he has limited use of his intelligence. Some of his appearances would give him away, buy he really didn’t look a lot different then many other me I have known. I remember him as always wanting to be part of the group. On a nice summer day, when some of us went out on the back deck for a break, he would always be there. Usually he would sit close to me. As the conversation of those handicapped mentally may differ from the normal conversation, still we found things to talk about. Maybe it would be who would do dishes that night or had someone taken his turn washing clothing or who would go with me to grocery shop. Although my little friend would have little to contribute, he still would have his say on occasion.
I do remember that he always wanted a hug both when I arrived or left. I also remember that he was usually involved with getting our autism affected young man to the dinner table. I can still see him, in my minds eye, holding that you man’s hand leading him to the dinner table. He would sit by him many times.
After five years, he still remembers me and rushes to me for a hug. As he holds me and I hold him, I talk with his mother and father. It seems that he was at the agency where I worked for some 15 years and then they had had some problems. He now resides with his parents as they try to find an opening in the small town that has a place for him.
We talk about some of options in a rural community as my little friend holds on to me and I hold on to him. Then we go our separate ways. As I sit and relate this incident, I can still feel his arms around my waist. I still remember that I didn’t want to let go of him. I told him as I left and it was true;
“I have thought of you many times.”
I will think of him many more times!!