true story by annie mimi hall from gentle kindness blog

A few years ago, I was a home health aide for 2 autistic brothers. They lived with their aging grandmother, because their mother had given up on taking care of them. I went to the house every week day and met their school bus. I got them off okay and then helped the grandmother with their dinner, baths and bed routine. 

When I had time in between dinner and bedtime, I would do activities with them. I brought my guitar over sometimes and they liked that. I brought art and crafts supplies and we created things together, so that they could feel that they accomplished something.

The younger one was about 14 and he was more severely autistic than the older brother, who was 16. The 16 year old used to play baseball with me in the yard. I bought a plastic bat and ball at the store myself. The grandmother was too old and disabled to be able to play outdoors with him, so he liked to have someone who would play ball with him. He actually was very good.

Over time they became used to me and looked forward to my visit. The older brother had a routine that he did with me every day, when it was time for me to leave for the day. 

He would let me out of the back door, which had a screen. He was still inside of the house and I was now outside of the house. Then we would stand, facing each other. I was facing the house and he was looking out from the inside of the screen door.

He would then put his hands up, against the screen, palms facing me. I would put my hands up also, so they were touching against his hands, from the opposite side of the screen. We would touch hands in this manner for about 5 seconds and then he would ask me when I was coming back.

I would either say “Peter I am coming back to see you tomorrow,” or if it was Friday, then I would say,”Peter, today is Friday. I will be back on Monday, after the weekend.”

Then he would repeat what I said, “You are coming back tomorrow. Okay.” His hands would drop down and I was able to leave, without him worrying about when I was going to return.

He was always content with my answer. He just wanted to understand when I was coming back. I do not really remember exactly how we started this. I think that he put his hands against the screen one time and I put mine up to meet his. He liked it, so I just began to do this every day.

I suspect that he was afraid I would not come back, because he had abandonment issues. He had lived with his own mother until he was 14 and then she just left them with the grandmother one day, and never came back.

 I was told by the grandmother, that the mother stopped by once every other month or so, but only for a short visit, and mostly with her, not the boys.

Peter and I did our goodbye routine  everyday, without fail.  He never forgot to put his hands up against the screen and to wait for my hands to join his.
 I never left, unless he was ready to come over to the door and say goodbye to me. We probably did this for 2 or 3 months, until one day I forgot…

I was in a hurry for some reason and I called to Peter that I was going and then I went to get into my car. As I was opening the door to my car, I could hear him screaming and crying. I turned to look and he was holding his hands up against the screen and I was not there.

I got out of my car and raced back up to the door. I put my hands against his and said I was very sorry. Peter said. ‘When are you coming back?”

I told him, “Peter this id Friday. I will see you on Monday, after the weekend.”

“Monday,” Peter said and gently dropped his hands down to let me know it was okay to go. I cannot think of a time that I felt much worse than that about something I inadvertently forgot to do. 

I never forgot again and we always said goodbye, in our little ritual. His hands up first on the screen. Then mine coming up to meet his. Holding for 5 seconds and then finding out when I would be back. Then the final “okay” from Peter that he was okay for me to go.

20 thoughts on “true story by annie mimi hall from gentle kindness blog”

  1. David, thanks for sharing this. Reminds those of us privileged enough to share our world with someone on the spectrum how important those little things can be. And thank you, Annie, for extending your love to those in need.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for saying that. I was pleasantly surprised to see this was already posted, when I got home from work tonight. I sent it very late last night.
      The boys that I cared for hold a special place in my heart and I chose this blog in particular to ask if it could be posted. I will reblog it on my own blog, as well.
      I feel that I have honored the boys by telling the story and that makes me feel good.
      Thank you for reading

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words. I was very happy to share this story on this blog. I discovered this blog recently and I think it is great.
      I thought this story would be received with dignity here, which is what I wanted.
      The boys are in my thoughts and I hope they are doing well.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Gentle Kindness and commented:
    I wrote this guest post for David Snape’s blog. His blog is called David Snape’s Blog – An Ordinary Guy with Autism. I enjoy this blog and I wanted to tell this story because I remember these boys and they have a special place in my heart. I used to be a home health aide for them.
    I think you will enjoy the story. It is very sentimental to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I actually have not had any contact from the family. I think of the boys from time to time. I have always remembered this particular story and it taught me not to assume that the way you feel about things is the same as someone else feels

      . I also learned not to underestimate the “little” things you do for others. Sometimes they mean much more to the other person than you think they do.

      The circumstances surrounding my no longer having this job were somewhat complex. The short version is that the grandmother had to go for spinal surgery and was in the hospital for 2 weeks and then rehab for a long time.

      During this time period, the boys were put into a different type of care. I think it was arranged between their school and the social work agencies. Therefor no home health aide was needed for about 2 months and I was given other jobs, by my agency.

      I was not really given information about what happened after she returned home. I was hoping to get the job back because I had really enjoyed working with them and I had been making some progress with them.

      Thank you for reading my post. Always nice to hear from you.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. can you open a message thing on google plus. I am still inept with google plus and I tried a few minutes ago to message you. If you initiate it then maybe i can receive it
    I can tell you a little more about what happened

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hello,

    I have been studying narcissism for months now and ran across your Utube videos. …after listening to hundreds, you have, by far struck so many chords.’s not really anything new that you’ve said, rather how you say it. You articulate so beautifully. You write beautifully. THANK YOU. ..I have much to read about you and catch up with.
    Love your work, style of communication, etc. SO GLAD BECAUSE I’M STILL trying to recover from serious narcissistic relationships and something about how you speak that hit home!

    Liked by 1 person

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