Strings of wet hair
hung down my neck and back. Rhonda's diaper bag I dropped right
inside the door of this small, but comfortable space we called our
own. What a welcome site the small living room was and softened the
misery of my body as I shivered from the cold of the rain.
My lavender paisley
dress only this morning fresh and clean was now in a soggy heap on
the floor as I stepped out of it. After rubbing my hair vigorously
with a towel, I took it and made a wrap for my head.
My mind was over
loaded with the sites and sorrows endured that day. Who knew there
were children shut away from the world like this simply because they
were less than perfect? What sort of a civilization could treat them
in such an Oliver Twist manner? The eyes and little hands of those
who were in their beds reached out to touch me as if my presence was
something rare and special and that haunted me as surely as any
ghost who is brazen enough to slide in and out of nightmares.
"Are you my Mommy?"
One of children asked and I knew the memory of that question was to
stay with me for a lifetime. Then, there was the therapy to make a
child cry out in pain.
He surely suffered
this many times and almost learned to endure. Sweet baby faces under
helmets, standing in stiff legged steel braces made an imprint upon
my mind like a hot branding iron hitting the rump of a young calf.
Animals cried out in a greater way than these children.
Suddenly, I became
aware Rod's aunt was not the pillar of trust I had at first imagined
her to be. I knew now there was an element of power here to be
faced. If Auntie Pud was the driving force behind these decisions to
be made, then, certainly, it was in agreement with what her brother,
Rod's Dad and Mother, no doubt, discussed with her. From this time
on there was to be only a moment to moment, situation; where upon
these decisions would have to be made. I was young, but there was
still the love and respect I had for my Uncle Dennis, Mother and
"A call home will be
necessary," I thought to myself. "Uncle Dennis will know what to
This was a new world
of shadowy shades of black and white as far as having to cope with
what was now happening in my life. I knew what my commitment was all
about as far as the ethics for going into marriage, divorce, faith,
loyalty and all those things. This was another issue and for sure,
there seemed to be a well entrenched, established method of dealing
with the disabled. What was right? What was the thing that would
please my Creator? There was all too much, just too much to think
You will need to see
after Rhonda? Please? My love? I'm past going and can't seem to stay
awake any longer. Just let me snuggle down here in this warm bed for
a while?" It was more than a while, though, because there was
darkness outside when I awoke.
"I can't believe you
let me sleep all this time. Is this proof there is really rest for
the weary? How does that saying go? There is no rest for the wicked?
Anyway, thank you, Sweetheart, for letting me sleep."
"You needed the rest
and we did all right, Rhonda and I." Rodney was his usual
"If you don't mind
watching her a bit longer, I'll get a quick shower?"
Now, for the first
time, I learned that if the shower was turned full into my face
there could be silent weeping with no one hearing or being disturbed
by my grief.