Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Joy of Good-bye

I have attempted to teach my brother Kevin to say good-bye for months now.  When I call him at his group home, often the staff giving directions, the show on TV, people coming and going are too much of a distraction for him.  Long silences from his end of the phone mean he is watching what's going on or he has put the phone down and walked away.  Sometimes he's so surreptitious about it that I spend a few minutes talking to the ottoman in his living room before I realize he's gone.

Now, when a silence occurs, I quickly ask, "Kevin, are you there?" to which he responds, "Me there, Sissa."  But he still puts the phone down without saying good-bye.  Why does it frustrate me so much?  I guess our phone calls bring so much joy to my day that I want them to last or at least I want to be prepared when they are going to end.

Tonight I called just before snack time.  Snack consists of a cookie or jello or pudding normally.  Tonight it was popcorn.  Kevin tried to sneak away, but I asked him to stay on the phone for a few minutes with me.  And he did.  I told him I loved him, to which he replied, "Tell me 'gain" as he always does.  After three repetitions, he said, "I love you Sissa" as he always does.  Then, I told him it was okay to go eat his snack.  I said, "Good bye Kevin" and he said, "Good bye Sissa."  It was all I needed to make the conversation, and my night, complete.


  1. YAY so excited to keep reading!

  2. Oh, how I love stories about Kevin. They always remind me that the heart of every true relationship is acceptance.

  3. Wonderful. Can't wait to read about your Italian adventure!

  4. Ever since I met Kevin I feel more enmeshed in your memoir. It's almost as if I was on the sidelines, watching - there, but not there. I love reading about him.

  5. I love reading about Kevin. Pat writes with such truth and compassion and these stories always remind me to be more patient and to see EVERYONE for "where they are at" and not where I need them to be.

    Can't wait to read about Italy! Have a great time!