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Charlie's smile

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  • Charlie's smile

    It’s been a quiet week in Cuyahoga Falls…

    I’ve not been writing much lately. Keeping to myself I go to work each day and have found in this current venue a few places to apply what I know and can do. Those around me have grown used to my quiet ways and have stopped expecting to hear about my personal life and its difficulty. They share theirs in front of the patients as if we were all interested and I suppose they consider this appearance of friendliness and confession an important part of their therapeutic skill. It’s not obvious to me that the procedures they follow involve much actual thought otherwise.

    This weekend I attended two events prepared by my high school graduating class for our 40th reunion. I was on the committee making the plans and though I didn’t do anything more than make a few phone calls I got a lot of “thank yous.” Sometimes patients say the same though I did little more than stand with them for a few moments. It always reminds me of the power of therapeutic presence, and how I should never forget to use it appropriately.

    I’m convinced that it is the often small and unique ways of moving that identify us throughout our lives. I mean our way of walking, gesturing, laughing and, especially, expressing things with our face. If some illness robs us of this there’s no way to identify it or treat it – the patient must find their own way. The family will usually see if they do - eventually. I’ve been ruminating about how a familiar presence might help this sort of recovery along or how the sort of nonjudgmental handling I do might replace that lack of familiarity. Simply put, Simple Contact encourages people to be more themselves.

    My oldest friend, Charlie, showed up both nights. I know he’s had less to smile about in his life than either one of us had planned. Me too. We had shared our dreams as small boys and I would know. But in the company of old friends he came alive and I could see him again. Leaving the bar on Friday night he said, “Laurie looked and looked at me but couldn’t figure out who I was. Then I smiled and she said, ‘Now I know.’”

    He was beaming.
    Last edited by Barrett Dorko; 02-09-2009, 07:47 PM.
    Barrett L. Dorko