Tuesday, August 24, 2010

On Seeing Granma

My Granma lives with dementia- Her short term memory is on a loop. Her long term memory is generally more reliable. Conversations with her are always a gift. She provides unexpected pockets of clarity...and sometimes hilarity. Her comments are insightful and refreshingly honest. This combined with the wisdom of her years.
It has been at least 10 months since I have been able to see her- As I rounded the corner, I recognized her profile. She was in her wheel chair, gazing into the dining room. She had not seen me yet. I exhaled and took a moment to watch her in thought.
Finally, I made a wide berth in front of her, so she could she me coming. I knew the moment that she recognized me. Her blue eyes widened with joy and her face lit up with such happiness. My face reflecting the same. It was as if our spirits met and joyfully embraced before I was able to physically touch her.

As I finally was able to hug her, kiss her, and held her hands...she whispered "it has been so long." Pockets of clarity.
I love Grams!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

On Seeing Them Graduate

While completing externships- I had wonderful, intellectual, and devoted professionals serving as my supervisors. As I was approaching graduation, I remember one of my supervisors telling me that she felt like she was a mother bird pushing me from the nest. She was sending me to "spread my wings and fly."

I now know how she felt. I had to opportunity to watch my first group of speech clients graduate high school and venture into the real world of college, employment, & adult relationships.
I met most of them as tentative freshman in high school. I called them from class and gave them their speech or language therapy schedules. They were so young and still overwhelmed, so they accepted the schedules and came at their appointed times.
As sophomores, they begin to become more comfortable. Often, this was the age where some introspection had taken over. They would begin to question the need for speech or language services.
Student:"My PE coach says that I talk just fine, I don't know why I have to come to speech."
Me: "Your articulation is fine, you are in language therapy...the fact that I have failed to teach you the difference is why you are still attending therapy. "
By the time they were Juniors- they had begun to mature in the art of negotiation...Although in a sullen manner.
Sullen Student: " I TOLD YOU, Fourth period is bad for me, I have geography and we have a project...couldn't we just skip this week? Even my Mom wants to know why I am in speech...NO DON'T call her...she has to work. FINE- I'll just come...WHATEVER!"
Finally, as seniors, a sense of maturity begin to blossom. The relationship would change.
Student: "Could you please help me with the vocabulary in English class- I am not doing great in that class." or "Could I practice my presentation in speech?" or "Could you attend my senior project presentation?"
As the maturity begin to unfold- the requests became more reasonable and based on a well-thought out process. "Could I be grouped with Leslie? We are both working on the same things and she is my friend? Also, we can't come during 4th period- but, we will come during 6th. Please remember to call the teacher and tell her."
Many of my previous clients have become my "friends" via facebook, etc. As we "chat" about their aspirations, challenges, and new lives- I can't help but feel a bit of nostalgia and am awestruck relentless march of time.
I cherish the moments that I had with these precious spirits and souls. I wish them lives filled with love, health, and joy.

Fly birdies....fly!!!