Over the few weeks or so, I had been telling Dear Son stories about himself to keep his spirits up. Since his hospitalization last November, he has lost the ability to move his feet and legs and can no longer move his hands. I could no longer tell him that he would get stronger as I had always done, to reinforce the goals of physical therapy. I had to retrain myself a bit to not say those things since I know deep down that those skills are not coming back. At some point, in a progressive illness, the illness begins to win.
I’d talk about his good sense of humor and how when he was small, we’d get into the elevator at Big City Children’s Rehab Hopsital and Dear Son would start laughing; he loved elevators. The rest of the people in the elevator didn’t know it then, but soon everyone would be laughing. Dear Son would squeal when he got into the elevator and start laughing. He’d laugh so hard as the elevator went up that soon everyone in the elevator would start laughing. He had one of those laughs that made everyone laugh. I told him the story and then would comment that making everyone laugh was something that was good about him and that not everyone was like that. Or I’ll tell him stories about daycare. Dear Son would laugh every time the daycare own told a child they couldn’t do something. She’d say it in her thick accent and Dear Son would laugh because someone was getting in trouble, which he loved. The more she talked the harder he laughed which made it difficult to get the other kids to listen. Then she’d tell Dear Son to stop laughing which made him laugh harder. Soon she started laughing and soon everyone was laughing at the daycare. That’s the kind of kid he was.
Dear Son at school, preparing to make dog treats.
As his deterioration has progressed, I began to worry about Dear Son and how that must feel when your body doesn’t work like it used to. As a result, I’d focus on his personality or his smile. I told him that when he smiles, he lights up a room and that other people always notice his smile. I’d tell him that not everyone is like that and that is something special that is unique to him. He’d listen to me and I could tell he was thinking about it. I’d remind him that I always ask to see his face when I talk to him so I can see his smile, because it’s beautiful. Sometimes he has Mickey Mouse in front of his face when he’s lying down and I can’t see his face. (Since he can’t speak, I need to see his face to see if something is wrong.) What I wanted to do was to keep Dear Son’s spirits up and help him feel good about himself.
Summer School Parent Open House