Wednesday, July 3, 2013

One more time

did I have to tell the life story of Moselito, last week.

He has been a bit more anxious and stressed as usual lately.   The care givers at Maison E., a community founded in 1982 , invited me to talk about Moselito to a group of 15 people gathered in the living room of Maison C.  Caregivers, new volunteers and the leaders of music therapy, pottery workshop, weavery and farm wanted  to learn more about Moselito in order to see how they could help to bring him back to his usual rather easy to handle self.
Pictures of events and former coworkers were spread out on a table, covering 31 years of his life in the community.  All thoughts were concentrated on Moselito.
I began with my pregnancy- heavy cramps, kicking and boxing as if he were looking for a way out.  Very happy in his crib but unhappy if placed on the floor to crawl or to sit and play. Needed security of the small crib area.                                                                              Montreal Children's Hospital were the first to mention the word 'Autism'. Fine Motor Therapy was suggested to teach him to play and interact with other children. I enrolled him.  3 times a week I dropped him off at therapy, his sister at school and myself into the office and three times a week I had to run to the car park, drive to therapy, pick him up and drive him to babysitter and then drive myself back to the office, all in one hour (my lunch hour). Speeding at 125km an hour on three lane highway is still haunting me. Autism specialists at 3-day convention had Moselito on stage and over the microphone I was informed that they had a  very intelligent child in front of them.   At age 7, we (his father and I) registered him in a private school which served special needs students. Until school registration I used the 'I' because that is how it was done (mother did best).  
Divorce.                                                                                                                           School suggested home speech therapy.  I accepted to do it, was given a lesson as to how, the school came to tape first lesson and last lesson video and were happy about the results. Music therapy after school became also available and Moselito attended.
In the mornings I drove 1.25 hrs in all directions dropping one child here, the other there and myself somewhere else and in the evenings it was the same  with pick ups except that it took longer.
I did not know much about autism. How to, what not to and what to do.
There were all kind of incidents with M.
M. in the back of the car, no seat belts way back then, me driving on three-lane highway and him jumping at me from back seat and him banging his head on mine and biting my neck - M. sitting on passenger side, me turning left on one lane road and door on his side opening wide - and more of such. I always kept my cool and managed to calm him down.
As my strength and patience started to wear out and knowing that I would eventually not be able to continue like that (I was 47then) and  not wanting to burden his siblings with the responsibility of taking care of their brother, I decided to place him.  Needless to say that it was a heartbreaking decision.
This was 31 years ago. The Maison E. center had just been founded and has since grown from 3 to 22 'villagers' in need of special care and about 30 caregivers who share 5 residences. Moselito's home away from home is paradise to him and to Ellena, as he calls me.  
Although I am not ready to check out, I can die in peace because of this place so close to my heart.

This is Maison C., the home which Moselito shares with 5 other villagers in need of special care, houseparents and coworkers.


Natalie d'Arbeloff said...

Ellena, thank you for writing this. You put so much lightness into telling this story even though the experiences it hints at must have been very heavy to bear for you. I am moved by it all and send my sincere wishes to Moselito for a happy and secure life and to you, my new friend, for the same.

Tom said...

Dear Ellena, it is abundantly clear that your courage is very alive and well. It is a moving story, bravely told as it must surely have been. Your concern for your son, the pain and weariness you must have experienced, are evident from your account, but never a single trace of 'poor me'. I salute you, lady!

Rouchswalwe said...

Dear Ellena, I join in the salute! Moselito is a fortunate man to have you, and you him. And I am so happy the community cares and is active in making life good for you all.

Ellena said...

Nathalie, thank you for your kind thoughts. It was a great gift to Moselito and I that this 'home away from home' came into being at a time where he and I needed it most.

Cher Tom, you amaze me. The one thing that I tried to avoid most was a 'poor you' reaction. Merci.

Rouchswalwe-Dear, and I am fortunate to have found you. From you to Lucy, to Tom, to Nathalie.

marja-leena said...

Ellena, I have been peeking at your blog from time to time for we have common blog friends including the above commenters. Now, after reading this post, I felt I had to say 'hello' and tell you how very moved I am by your story. You have been strong, brave and loving, and how very fortunate you found such a caring home for your dear Moselito.

We have in common too that we are immigrants to Canada. Now I will be reading more...

Ellena said...

Dear Marja-Leena
Welcome and thank you for your kind comment. I also have been peeking at what you do and have to say - your hands, crumpled paper art and so much more - but never made a comment. I have a difficult time expressing in the right words what I feel and what pleases me about posts I read. So, instead of working hard to write a decent comment I am easy on myself and just read and enjoy.