Tuesday, April 9, 2013

With My Heart in Their Hands...

Tomorrow is my last day of my last study placement as a Developmental Services Worker student. For the past 12 weeks, I have been supporting 9 adults with disabilities, all of whom live together in a local group home.

12 weeks ago, as I rang the bell of the large house for the first time, I thought I'd pee my pants, I was so nervous. I had no idea how these incredible men and women - some who walk, some who talk, some who do neither - would etch their way onto my heart the way they have.

.I can only hope that I have touched theirs in some small way and that they will somehow carry my gratitude with them always. For as much as I helped them to eat, to walk, to sit, to bathe, to sign, to scoot, to smile....the lessons learned have all been mine.

By holding another's heart in my hands, I must also be willing to offer them my own.

"Heart in Hand"
Courtesy of Pinterest

This is what that looks like, 12 weeks later:

Dear F,

Every day you asked me, "Will you be here tomorrow?" in a way that made me feel as though you hoped I would. Every day you made me smile. Thank you for your warmth, sharing the moments
you remember the best and for making me feel welcome in your home.

Dear J,

Sweet J. How I shall miss your mischievous smile - the one that made your eyes dance even as you danced just out of reach on your way to wreak havoc somewhere in the house. In your wake, I either laughed or wanted to cry, there was never any other way to feel and for all of it, I am grateful. For you, especially, I wish for peace and love.

Dear V,

Of everyone I've ever met, no one has ever been as happy to ride in the car as me...until you. Thank you for getting it. Thank you, too, for reaching for my hand and silently guiding me  to the next room so we could throw Lego undisturbed and for laughing so hard we both cried.

Dear R,

Yours was the smile I worked hardest to earn and when I finally did, it was like watching the sun come out on your face. I will never forget it...or you. Thank you for such beauty and for trusting me enough to lean.

Dear MB,

Thank you for teaching me the gentle art of helping someone bathe and dress, without uttering a single word. Thank you for your trust and the way your eyes never leave mine when I'm helping you and for reaching out to wrap me in spontaneous hugs. That first one surprised but delighted me and filled my eyes and my heart in equal measure.

Dear MC,

You are the voice of hilarious reason and the person I want to sit beside, always. Thank you for your grouchy honesty about your life, your home and for offering such candid opinions about my hair and my cardigan collection. Thank you for dancing as though no one was watching and for trusting me to make your coffee, your bed and your day, when I could.

Dear B,
It is impossible to know you and not love you, B. You are sunshine and open arms. Thank you for singing harmony, allowing me to learn some pretty cool medical stuff as your support person and finding the joy in being alive, for every moment of every day.

Dear L,
Thank you for resting yourself against me, letting me sit with you in companionable silence for long, lovely stretches each morning. Thank you for saying that I'm beautiful. I hope I told you often enough that you are one of the most beautiful human beings I have ever met. Oh and "I. said....NO!" Ha ha ha!

Dear G,

For moments of understanding, silence and absolute grace, I am so grateful. Thank you for all of them and for being you. From you, I learned the most important lessons of all:

Be still.

With all of mine,


  1. So so lovely. Reminds me of Jean Vanier. Hugs, you...

    1. Honoured to be compared to such a rare and compassionate man, who, coincidentally, looks JUST like my dad.

      That God. He's so funny.

  2. Beautiful! These are the most important lessons a DSW (or any human being really) can learn. You have had some amazing teachers.

    1. I have indeed had some amazing teachers. It's amazing, the things we can learn when we slow down and pay attention.


  3. You are such a special human being Liz. You've once again succeeded in making me cry at work! I really need to save your stuff for when I'm at home, so that I can sob without having to worry who'll see me. = ) Those people were lucky to have you be their caregiver. xoxo

    1. Well, as you know, I love when people cry at something I've written, because it tells me I've chosen the right words to express what I felt/feel/see. So, thank you for your tears.

      I am not particularly special though, sweet friend.

      I am just called to serve some special people.

  4. What a lovely heart! Precious times all wrapped up in a little box of thoughts. Delicious read. Thank you for sharing these little jewels of humanity!!!!!!! :)

  5. Thank you, Terri! Wrapped up thoughts - love it!

  6. what a really special post. If one of his care givers thinks these beautiful words about my son when he is older I will be a happy mom. I pray he finds people in his journey just like you. You have been open to truly experience the huge gift the disabled can give us. Good luck in your future.

    (found your blog through your comment on my sons friend Gavin Leongs blog)