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.