Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Last Session

(sorry this has dragged on forever, but I'm finally finding the time to post the end of Ben's story so that I can move on to others. Thank you all for your patience!)

Gift in tow, I arrived to the house. I didn't let it hit me that this was my last session with Ben because OF COURSE I'd keep in touch, and all that....

Ben ran away from me when he saw me, giggling. I chased after him but unfortunately my feet couldn't run as fast as his cute little ones. I walked into his room.

"Hmm....where is Ben? I can't find him!" I said, quite loudly so that Ben would hear. I heard heavy breathing coming from under the table.

"Beeeen, where are you? I am getting sad! I want to play with my Benny!"

I heard giggling. He was so darn cute. How much easier it would be if I could just take him home with me!

I bent down and stuck my head under the table. Louder giggling. "I found you, you silly boy!"

"Silly!" mimicked Ben.

"Come out, silly boy."

More giggling, accompanied by a "no!"

"Okay....I guess Ben doesn't want to play with my puzzles today..."

Well that got him. He crawled out and tried to climb on my lap, as I had situated myself on the chair. " DO want to play with my puzzles!"

I squeezed him tight. I think Ben remained on my lap for a lot of the session. We moved to the floor a couple times too. I spent our last session mostly playing with Ben and getting as much language from him as I could.

The last ten minutes of our session, I sat across from Ben as he did a puzzle from his seat. Rather than placing the puzzle on the table, he had placed it on my lap. So there I was, trying to balance it while writing up my last progress summary notes for Ben Donaldson.

I was deep in thought. Thinking of how I'd miss him. Thankful for how much he has enriched my life. Greatful that he has so much potential for a wonderful life ahead of him. Sad to let him go. Oh, and of course, writing my notes on his overall progress.

I almost didn't notice the tugging on my skirt. When I did, I pretended to ignore him, as I wanted to illicit speech. "Biddy, Biddy," he said, with his cute little voice.

I'll take that, I thought, smiling at him. "What, Ben?"

"Where da truck?" he asked.

I was stunned. I looked down at his puzzle. It was a transportation puzzle with a helicopter, car, train, airplane, boat.... and surely the truck was missing. Embarrassingly enough, I tried not to cry. It was right then, at that moment, when I realized Ben didn't need me anymore. I had done my thing, and now it was time to move on.

Ben had discriminated. Illicited eye contact. Desired recognition. Spoke a sentence.

I looked in my bag, but couldn't find the piece. "It's lost, Ben. But you're right! The truck is missing!" I gave him a hug.

He shrugged his shoulders, and looked at me. I smiled at him.

I finished writing my notes and we walked into the living room. I picked Ben up and hugged him tightly. "I'm not gonna say goodbye," I said to his new mom, and to him too. "It isn't goodbye. We are going to keep in touch."

Now, I have said that to many families, but I really meant it with Ben. I just couldn't imagine never seeing him again, so it had to happen.

I started walking out the door. As it closed behind me, I looked through the living room window. Ben was waving.

I waved back. Then I got into my car, and slowly drove away.

In my mind I thought, "Goodbye, Ben."


Bas~Melech said...

I feel like crying. Your experiences with Ben are (were?) so rich. I'm happy that you have these fulfilling moments in your job.


What a beautiful ending for Ben. I hope that he is still so happy and that u have many more rewarding and successful cases. Thank you for sharing it with us.

the sabra said...

OYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY i miss 'my kid'!!!! reading this post was mighty strange, i felt like twas me and 'my boy'.

I never had a chance to say a proper good bye cuz I got (weirdly) separated from the family at an airport and then wasn't allowed in the country of their residence (yikes i sound like a criminal) and now im like wishing that he'll remember me and miss me, yet on the other hand im hoping he moves on, doesn't feel bad, meets new people who will change his life for the better...

k thanks for letting me share that ;)

halfshared said...

It's so amazing how devoted and involved you were with him. It really takes an extra dose of warmth to truly care for a child that can technically be seen as a "job" and not a person. Do you still keep in touch with him?

LittleBirdies said...

I can only imagine how hard it is for a therapist to leave a case that they loved. Especially when the child had such a hard life and related so well to them.

As a parent of a child with amazing therapists, it's hard for us to let go too. When we see you loving our children and helping our children in ways we don't know how to do ourselves, we feel indebted to you for the love and care you give.

psyched said...

Bas~melech - they really were rich. I'm so glad that reading about them had an impact on you!

BAS - I hope he's happy too. I think about him all the time!

sabra - Are you in the same line of work?

halfshared - yes, your answer is in the epilogue although I really wish I did KIT.... and btw, so many times I had asked my (then) husband if we could just adopt him!!!

little birdies - thank you so much for the really beautiful message. Sometimes in this line of work parents are so overwhelmed and mostly in denial, they hardly even appreciate that we come to work with their child. It is so comforting to know that you care so much. I really do care for the children I work with so much, and may yours continue to grow and learn more each and every day!

the sabra said...

Not professionally. I spent the last (school) year-in scandinavia-working with a 4yr old boy who was developmentally delayed.
I became extremely close with the family, esp as we celebrated each victory of his.

I'm pretty sure I've read ur blog before..not enough and not consecutively..but this one post I've chanced upon was just so perfect.

(incidentally, i also have a special needs sibling...therapists have been a part of my life for years and years. i'm with 'little-birdies')

LittleBirdies said...

No, thank you.
We do understand and appreciate your work. However, many times we are too overwhelmed (and yes some are in denial) to acknowledge it.