Wednesday, May 31, 2017

My Toughest Day

Good afternoon!

There has never been a question posed to me that I wouldn't or couldn't try to offer an answer too.  The one question that made me think twice, was how it felt the day we took Tyler to his residential home.  What was that day like?

One reason we love Tyler's home agency is that they know how to handle such a difficult transition.  We had discussed beforehand how to make the move as comfortable as possible for Tyler.  There was no denying he would be completely freaked out, so our job was to work through it with him.  We can't explain things like this to Tyler, so we had to plan things as though it would be a complete shock to him.

Our first strategy was to have Tyler meet the caregivers who would be with him at the beginning.  About a week prior to his move, the staff would make visits and get to know him. We would also sit and discuss his joy and fears, so they got a good sense of what made him tick.  Perhaps he was able to begin a comfort level with them that would carry over to the new house.

The morning of his move was one of the most difficult of my life.  For him, it was just another day headed over to his day program.  I remember him having a pretty good morning and being happy to do his normal thing.  I looked at him knowing that his life was about to turn upside down.  I couldn't decide whether I was leading him to better things, or leading him to the wolves.  The urge to stop the whole process was very real.  I knew that while this might ease the guilt I felt, it wouldn't be what was best for Tyler.  Tyler needed me to be strong for both of us, and stick with the plan.

During the day, we went to Tyler's new house and got his room situated.  We wanted for him to be surrounded with things that were familiar and comfortable.  It was like being in a fog.  I was going through the motions and thinking about the task at hand, all the while just telling myself why this was the right thing to do.

We picked him up from his day program.  Tyler thought he was heading home as usual, and we knew he was basically starting a brand knew life.  I was picturing the whole situation imploding into a ball of flames.  I wanted to be optimistic, but my experience with Tyler had warned me otherwise.

When we arrived it didn't take long before he smelled trouble.  We sat him at the dining room table with a coloring book and started to get the staff members around him.  They had 3 or 4 people ready to handle whatever was about to hit.  The only thing left for us to do was say "goodbye" and get out of the way of progress.  I gave him a hug and a kiss, and headed for the door.

The remainder of the day and that night I waited for the phone to ring.  "Come back and get him" they would say.  Or somebody would be at the ER from kicks to the shin.  Worse yet he may have torn the house down to the bare studs.  I pretended to do other things, but my anxiety level was off the charts.  I was glad the phone wasn't ringing, and at the same time I couldn't bear the silence.  I knew how much pain he would be in, and how lost he was feeling.  We had placed him in this situation, the very people who vowed to protect him. The phone never rang.  Yes, he kicked, he threw things, and he was emotionally lost, but they all made it through the first day.....and the next....and the next.

I look back now and I realize how important it was for us to stick by the plan and trust what everyone was doing for him.  If we would have given in to the emotions of the moment, it would have done him a great injustice.  We are thankful every day that we were strong enough to remember what was best for him.

Be well and God bless.   Tom

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