Story Shared by: Lisa Rue, East Bridgewater, MA, this time last year…
I will call him Zeke.
He has a tremendous spirit.
Zeke loves to tell jokes (He has a joke book),
Works diligently at practicing his letters, words and numbers
(We practiced word searches together – elbow to elbow, “Help me” he would say when stumped),
And patiently resharpened many colored pencils that we used for detailed coloring sheets.
Zeke loved to hoard the basketball when at the court with his housemates and me,
But always shared when asked, each of them taking turns to shoot at the hoop.
They were good!
Zeke started hanging to the side of the court on those two bright sunny mornings a couple of weeks ago. His energy was lower, though he still had a smile on his face, and would ‘step up’ to do whatever was asked of him, and always loved engaging with other people.
Zeke is a chatty fella!
We’ve all been taking our temperatures as we arrive to work at the group home there, and the
temps of the residents.
This is the home I’ve been ‘dispatched’ to since the Day Hab I work at was closed March 16th.
(It’s been an adjustment for everyone. The residents were used to going to different work and day programs during the week. And they usually visit with family and/or friends outside of the house.
So we have found activities to do together there, with masks and gloves on: yoga, sign language, music, movies, meals, walks around the block, basketball, and reminding everyone about what and why this is happening, and what to do for the sake of our health.)
Zeke came down with a fever,
Then it got better.
Then it got much worse (103 point-something).
He was quarantined in his room, and went for a Co-Vid19 test.
That night I prayed for him.
He’s the type of person that will leave a huge hole when he leaves this mortal realm,
And his 60+ age puts him at an increased risk.
The next day I went to the open window at his room where masked and gloved staff had been visiting him:
(An interior window for each of the nine rooms, which are individually painted with colorful walls; The place is bright and cheery; The building used to be a rectory. The parents of one of the residents were married there!)
I couldn’t help but notice Zeke’s extensive record collection by the window – each carefully encased in protective plastic cases.
‘Wow! Look at all of your albums!’ I say. ‘Can you play something?’
He chose the Beatles. I suggested one song, but he played another.
It’s hard to put into words the joyful spirit that was shared between us as
“All Together Now” rang out through the second floor of the house for that song,
with him behind the open window in his room, and me out in a hallway living space.
He sang! I sang!
I danced! He danced!
I clapped rhythms and he clapped along.
When I forgot the words, I made them up; and so did Zeke.
He beamed and spun behind the open window with its rows of albums.
The music completely transcended the gravity of the times, and we were gladly lost in it.
When the song was over, I thanked him for sharing his album and the song of the Beatles, wished him well, and said that I would see him soon.
(I ended up having to buy groceries for another group home the following day, Friday.
FYI, I did not go inside – but left the groceries on the porch, where staff then came out to get it all.)
On Sunday afternoon – Easter, I received a call that Zeke had tested positive for Co-Vid19, and I was quarantined, myself, for two weeks – while also sent to be tested at a local hospital.
The Good News Is
Zeke has been symptom free as of the Friday before Easter –
Which was the day after our late afternoon song together.
His spirit lives on in this mortal realm for the time being,
I am all ver-klempt,
And can’t wait to see him again.