Yesterday was my last day of working at Community Entry Services. [working with adults with mental and physical disabilities.] Working at CES was an unsuspected, powerful adventure and I am more upset by leaving that I realized I would be.
Yesterday was amazing/hard.
is an older man. He’s got a big belly on him and hardly says a word. He mopes around and doesn’t smile. Picture Eeyore with a mustache. But he is one of our sweetest clients. Always says thank you and always asks how you’re doing. Little things like that made me love spending time with Doug. Every Tuesday, we would go to coffee and then go to the library and look at magazines.
For my last Tuesday, I asked Doug if he’d go out to breakfast with me.
Apparently Doug told a couple staff members how excited he was about our breakfast… which in itself, is amazing.
So, yesterday we went out to breakfast. Doug dressed up. I smiled. Almost cried. We didn’t say much at breakfast… but it was sweet and special.
After eating, we decided to make one last visit to the library. We pulled the van into the parking lot to find the place was PACKED. Seriously? The Teton Library?? [i guess it was pretty crappy outside.] Anywho, there was not a single space for parking, except for a tight spot labeled “Senior Parking”.
– You’re a senior, right Doug?
And we parked. It was pretty tight, though.
– Do you think you can get out, Doug?
So, I’m walking towards the library when I hear…
– Ummm… Rachel. Rachel.
I look over and Doug is stuck between the van and the car next to us trying to get out…
– I’m stuck.
– Oh, noooo. [trying not to laugh.] Just wiggle, Doug. You got this. Wiggle out.
So, then Doug’s trying to “wiggle” out. And I tell you, I cannot remember the last time I laughed so hard. I could not help it.
– I’m sorry, Doug. I’m sorry. I can’t help laughing. Are you okay? Do you think you can wiggle out?
Doug starts laughing, a deep bellowed laugh. A smile appears. I try giving him a hand and pulling him out.
– I don’t think I can wiggle out. I’m stuck.
– Okay, go back in the car and we’ll just move it. No big deal.
– Okay. ……Rachel, I’m stuck. I can’t get back in the car.
I lose it. We’re both laughing so hard. People are walking by, not making eye contact, wondering what the hell is going on.
We finally got Doug back in the car and both sat there before moving the car, laughing uncontrollably, smiling back and forth. A perfect goodbye.
knits. That’s what she does. She sits in bed all afternoon and knits some pretty amazing stuff. One Christmas she knitted herself a dress for the Christmas party. [unfortunately, the dress was see-through… being knit and all… and linda’s not the biggest fan of undergarments. the ces staff helped her make some modifications to her outfit.]
Linda is an amazing character. One of my favorites. She isn’t the friendliest, but when she is, it melts your heart.
So, Linda knits. And she likes to give away her makings. But she also infamous for trying to charge some unexpecting people for her treasures. You gotta watch out.
Yesterday, Linda presented me with a dish towel she had knit.
– It’s for you going away.
– Oh, Linda! It’s precious! Thank you so much… I might cry.
– It’s a dish towel. Do you like it?
– I love it! Oh, this is so great. Wait… I don’t have to pay you for this, do I?
– …….You got any money?
I almost died. Other staff were around and we laughed so hard, I cried. [okay, maybe i was about to cry anyway.]
[p.s. later i accidentally took the dish towel outside with me to run an errand with linda… because i was holding on to it like a security blanket. when i apologized to linda, telling her i didn’t mean to take her precious gift outside with me, she told me, “it’s okay… just don’t let it get wet.” …..my DISH TOWEL. i’m not allowed to get it wet. incredible.]
is the center of attention. Always. Once I was singing “Friends in Low Places” at a CES karaoke party and she got up and tore the mic away from me during the chorus. [i still haven’t forgiven her for that… the chorus is where i shine.]
To celebrate my leaving, the women I work with bought me some sparkling cider. We all poured some and they proceeded to make toasts. Stacey made my favorite…
– [very excited] To Rachel! [very somber] And many more years…
And then one that was long and rambling and made no sense at all. That ended with…
– Rachel, you’re our big, hot star.
It has been an amazing journey working with CES.
Now, I’ll be spending five days a week with the precious boy I nanny. Loving life with him and celebrating the wonder of this world daily.
To design more, write more, run more, dance more, read more, toast more, climb more, kiss more, bike more, breathe more. Life is exciting right now.
But I am very sad to leave Community Entry Services.
When I started the job, it was obvious how much help all of these people needed in daily life. What wasn’t obvious, was how much help I needed. And what is glaringly obvious now, is how much I’ve learned from these amazing people.
I’ve learned a lot about love…
How powerful love is.
What kind of love hurts.
What kind of love I am afraid of.
What kind of love knows no bounds.
What unconditional love is.
What trusting love is.
What dependent love is.
What independent love is.
What love is undeniable.
[what love looks like.]
I am deeply thankful for my time with such an amazing group of people. I look forward to breakfast dates and random run-ins with these friends.
Thank you for everything, you lovely people.