Freudian Slips: Requiem for a Heavyweight

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

November 09, 2004

Requiem for a Heavyweight

I work with the medically fragile and developmentally disabled, where death comes for this special needs population as a frequent visitor. The average life span is about 49 years of age. Circumstance not morbidity encourage me to store Sympathy cards in my desk drawer.
On Monday morning at the start of business, a pall was cast over our job site. Simultaneous sobbing staff have come to mean only one dreaded thing. The census today would be one person light although I had yet to learn who would not be joining us. Someone should have warned me because this was about to hurt like hell.
The deceased happened to be the life of the party. I had no more time to spend with this special lady because she died the night before in her sleep. As a social worker, I make every effort to treat everyone fairly but I do have my favorite clients. Human beings are different it is as simple as that. While every one of my clients receive the same level of service, others bend more of my ear.
A half century caretaker for his daughter and a widowed octogenarian, her father traveled to the day program to comfort staff. I singled him out. If I describe our union as an embrace, I would be making light of the moment. We bear hugged. In his ear, I whispered standard condolences but mere words could not match the depth of my feelings. The moment at hand has always been an albatross for me the writer.
To make amends, later that night I returned to the familiarity of my pen. I wrote the grieving father exactly what I wanted to share with him in person. My poem exacted unequivocal social work. As touching words transversed the page, my heart and my soul truly negated the bastardized ritual of having to keep death cards cued up. My words were a final goodbye to my client. Blue cloud designer stationary found a soft picturesque home for the ink. I tucked the poem inside the Sympathy card and mailed it to the father as a fond remembrance of his beloved daughter. Grab a tissue. Here it is word for word.
On November 7, 2004, the world lost a beautiful human being in you. Your brand of beauty rivaled star status. I can only imagine the challenges of having a lifelong developmental disability. I realize God blessed me a little more than you when I entered your life as your social worker. Non-verbal and non-ambulatory, you never spoke a single word or walked a single step but that didn't stop your zest for life. You possessed uncanny receptive language skills that the general population may have overlooked. By simply modulating your voice with utterances, you spoke from a mountain-top to those who ventured to listen. I came to understand you as a person, as noble a gift as any. You had personality, kid, and a great sense of humor which time will never tarnish. I will sorely miss spending time with you. You could make me laugh without uttering a word and that...is saying something. If I teased you too much, you would playfully ignore me. That I deserved. When any man walked into the building, your voice chided me about your transfer of affection. That I didn't deserve. I will miss pretending to phone your father to tattletale on you only to have you laugh at my antics. I will also miss flirting with you and cling fondly to the time when I flashed my wedding band and told you I got re-married. You snarled at me because maybe...you deserved better. When you were positioned from your wheelchair and onto my lap the year I played Santa Claus, it was you who recognized me inside the big red floppy suit. Your eyes, your windows to the world, saw me and you let me know it too. I can still hear your trademark cackle. This is what made you special. I regret many things in life and one of them is taking your presence for granted. I know this now that you are gone. I cannot say the world will be a better place without you because the lights dimmed when God took you, a shining star. I trust your quality of life is better now. Love is never better left unsaid. Without saying a word, you taught all of us that much. Your friend first, Your social worker second, Joe Tornatore

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2 Comments:

Blogger PaxRomano said...

wow, you just moved me to tears...excellent posting.

6:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well done! I could feel your pain. So sorry for your loss. You made me feel a sence of loss also! The lost opportunity of never having known this special person. ET

11:52 AM  

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