I recently popped down to my local grocery store with a bottle of wine and farewell card for my favourite cashier, who was working her last shift. Some complications as a result of MS have forced her to retire. Every time I see her, I get a hug as she makes fun of my monstrous grocery bill and comments on how many or how few children I happened to have with me on that particular day.
I find it hard saying goodbye to community helpers. When my mail carrier died a couple of years ago, I was pretty torn up. I got to wondering if everyone gets attached to community helpers the way I do and, wanting to do a temperature check to see if this was “normal”, did some asking around.
From that bit of digging, I now hypothesize that people whose kids have special needs feel particularly connected to community helpers. We become very attached to the various people in the lives/health/development of our children, and perhaps it carries over to community helpers in general.
I’ll never forget how I felt when I found out, a few days before the new school year began, that our school principal was being transferred. This is the kind of news that keeps parents like me up at night. We think about the years spent relationship building, advocating, winning that principal over - all that time, energy and investment, gone. A new principal means having to start all over again.
The same goes for those in the medical profession. When friend and Mabel staffer, Melissa, found out that her daughter’s very first nurse was leaving their hospital, she experienced extreme distress. How can these people just up and move on when we rely on them? There is no such thing as a “simple” transfer in our worlds.
Last month, my son’s young, vibrant and extraordinary speech therapist, Kim Pace, finally lost her incredibly courageous battle against cancer. She leaves behind countless devastated parents of children with special needs.
They say that it takes a village to raise a child. I, for one, appreciate and value every one of those villagers. I will miss Bonnie the cashier and Kim the speech therapist. My village won’t be the same without them.