Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Different Kind Of Goodbye

I think you all know by now that when you see this picture . . .

. . . you know that St. Mary's has lost one of our beloved children to heaven.

Problem is, that's not the only kind of goodbye we have saying more & more of this past year.
When our kids turn 21, they have to move.
They cease to become kids, at least by Medicaid guidelines,
and they become adults that have to go to another place to live.

We have a lot of kids who have turned, or are getting ready to turn, 21.

It's kind of like sending them off to college,
except they won't be coming home on weekends and holidays
with bags of laundry and requests to borrow the car.
We know they're not coming home again.

This breaks our hearts in an equal, but very different way.
Because we know, we KNOW to the very depths of our souls,
that no one will love them and take care of them like we did.

That's our story and we're sticking to it.

Jamie left us yesterday morning.
She came to us when she was a very small little girl,
and I've known her pretty much the whole time she has been there.
Soft, dark hair the texture of silk threads.
Large, expressive brown eyes.
A ready smile for anyone who would talk to her.
An even bigger smile for anyone who would sing to her.
And you know what that means.
I live to sing, so I spend a lot of time crooning her favorite song to her.
Over and over and over and over and . . . she never got tired of it.
Served a dual purpose, really.
Not only did I get to see that beautiful smile, but it also made therapy go a lot smoother.
I could get away with a lot more PT stuff with a few songs attached.

Yesterday, while she was waiting for the bus that would take her away from us,
I sang her favorite to her one more time.
"This Old Man".
Could only sing it through once though.
There seemed to be something stuck in my throat.


nana said...

I hate to be a downer, but I work in nursing homes for adults - and you're right, it won't be the same as St. Mary's. The world sucks.

nana said...

When I was at St. Mary's, they had to leave by age 12

Kathy said...

nana - I remember that. Isn't it crazy? One of them would hit the discharge age and there would be nowhere to send them. Nursing homes (shudder) didn't want them that young, group homes weren't in vogue, so we'd do a policy change so they could stay. That happened at every d/g age, 12, then 14, then 16, then 18, now 21. Trouble is, we can't go beyond 21. Now if only we could open an adult facility....

Kathy said...

should be "d/c age". sorry for the typo. The fingers move faster than the brain.

nana said...

talk to the catholic church!

Kathy said...

Why the Catholic Church? They stopped running the place decades ago.

nana said...

oh, I didn't know that. Why did they stop? They have enough money! Look at the popemobile! And all the riches of the archbishop's robes and jewels, not to mention the Vatican and all their wealth and land holdings, etc. I don't know why Jesus has not already come back and taken over!!!!
Speaking of songs, do you remember the "Sarah the Whale" song from our old Burl Ives record? I do, even my old folks love it when I sing it to them. Of course, I don't have your voice, but I remember all the words, so if you want it, call me and I'll sing it to you.

Sista G said...

It's a sister blog fest!!

Kathy - I believe you are absolutely right - no one could ever take care of them like you all do!! I don't think any of this health care "reform" is going to help out one little bit, either!

Nana/Kathy - oh, yes, I remember "Sarah the Whale" and "The Little White Duck" the others on that album, as well as "Tawny, Scrawny Lion", the "pancakes piled up 'til they reach the sky song from Mickey and the Beanstalk, and so many more!! They just don't make 'em like that anymore...

Love you both!!

Kathy said...

Funny, I remember all EXCEPT "Sarah the Whale".

Russ said...

Beautiful post