Many years ago, I came across a small but profound article regarding why people came into our lives. It was never memorized and I can’t say I ever ‘googled’ it until today, but I always remember the words had such an impact on me. As people have come and gone in my life, including best friends, I tried to recall those words to ease the pain of their departure.
Several months ago, I wrote to you about some very special Respite Workers in our lives – Blessed by Angels – and sadly today, I have received word that one of them has passed away far too early in their lives.
Lorraine had graduated from University and was hired by Family Services to work with children with Special Needs. Her first assignment was Troy at his daycare. She began each workday morning working with Troy. She helped him hand-over-hand, inclusion with the other children, exercising and helping the other employees with their first student with Special Needs. Lorraine looked so young, but she had a smile that lit up a room and she was so caring to Troy.
If I recall correctly, she worked with Troy for two years and when I finally moved Troy on to Grade School, it was a sad time because Lorraine would no longer be a part of the routine. She even went so far, as on her own dime, to dedicate some time to the kindergarten classroom teacher, to explain some of the things she and Troy had been working on.
Within the year, great news came to me. I would get 90 minutes of Respite a week. Immediately I knew I wanted to hire Lorraine, so I called her and she agreed. I was so grateful for this 90 minutes, not for me but for Troy to be with his ‘expert’ again. She would visit Troy in our home and she would bring along something to give to his older brother to play with. It wasn’t long before she was more like Aunt Lorraine to my kids than Lorraine the Respite Worker.
My Respite hours grew a little over time and I always asked Lorraine if she would like them and she always agreed. She had so much patience with Troy, something that I felt I never had enough of.
Eventually one day, she informed me she was pregnant. She knew she wouldn’t be continuing on after her baby was born. She slowly explained to Todd that there was a baby growing inside her. Todd scooted off on his happy way and 15 minutes later, came tearing down the stairs and stuck his finger into Lorraine’s stomach and said “you had sex with Greg”. In that moment, Lorraine wanted the earth to open up and allow her to be swallowed within it. Even to this day, I have no idea how Todd at age 8ish, had figured out how that worked exactly. It is a moment of hysterical laughter in our lives and one we always shared when we saw each other.
A few Respite Workers came and went but none were working out. Lorraine called me one day, just for an update and I explained where things were. She returned to me immediately, sometimes bringing her baby boy, Patrick along with her. I never minded. As her son grew older, he would say ‘it wasn’t fair she got to play with Troy and he didn’t’.
Lo and behold, time passed us by and she was pregnant again. And once again, she informed me she could no longer work with us. As the story unfolds, she once again returned to us after a brief stint away.
Throughout much of this, she saw an unhealthy environment, always keeping her professionalism and never interfering, until one day it was obvious it all was breaking apart in my home. As things became more abusive and at times violent, I asked her to take the kids with her while I produced a letter to my then husband, saying I wished to be ‘legally separated’. He went ballistic wondering where I had hidden his children. I was so glad my children were ‘safe’, during that evening.
She kept my kids engaged, both of them, by taking them out to dinner with her family, going for walks along the Speed River in Guelph, feeding the ducks at Riverside Park, riding the train at Exhibition Park, taking Troy to Playsense or being there at home for me when I couldn’t be.
When Troy’s eyesight was measured with some new fangled device and he received his new glasses, Lorraine was there to witness that Troy was ‘seeing’ for the first time. Her, I and the entire staff of the Ophthalmologist Office, including some client’s broke down in tears.
When I finally left my husband, Lorraine came on moving day and helped Troy pack his favourite things in a little suitcase. She took him away all day, so as not to absorb the emotion and when they returned to our new apartment, she had him unpack all his things. He never blinked an eye in the change, and she was the first to comment within the week, how much happier Troy was.
When I had made the decision to move to Winnipeg, it broke my heart to have to leave Lorraine and another worker behind. They had become family to us. She was the Aunt my kids hadn’t really had (the other two lived far away). I took Lorraine and Claudette out for dinner one evening and we shed numerous tears in our goodbyes. They gave me an “Angel of Remembrance” and it sits right now beside my computer, where it has always sat.
When Troy would go back to visit his father for two weeks, his father would have Lorraine care for him while he was at work. And last summer, I made a special visit to see her, just her and I, after learning how ill she had become with colon cancer.
Even to today, when they drive by our old apartment, Patrick or Emily say “That’s where Troy lived” or should I say “Twoy”.
Last night, I returned from Toronto, ON where I had a 4 day visit with my ailing father. I had thought about making the trip to Guelph, but I owed it to my dad to spend the time with him. Tonight, I opened up my Facebook to read we lost our lovely Lorraine at 7am to colon cancer. She was surrounded by her family all weekend and during her passing this morning.
And so, was Lorraine in my life for a Reason, a Season or a Lifetime?
She was in my life for all three, for she was the kindest of spirits. She gave me friendship, sistership, and strength in a time when I had no idea whether the next day was worth living. She swore she would protect my children and go to court for me if necessary. She will be so sadly missed.
She will live in the sparkle of Troy’s eyes, each and every time I look into them.
I miss you my friend and my love and thoughts go to your precious children, your loving husband and your family.
(For my followers and visitors: It appears right now my Mars is in retrograde with Venus, and my Venus is in retrograde with my Mercury and somehow Jupiter is popping up in there to basically cause chaos and transition in my life. (Aha, I knew there had to be sense in all the sadness surrounding me at the moment). For whatever reason, this is where I am suppose to be in this moment, so bear with me.)