An unexpected Mother’s Day message

I felt a bit sad Saturday morning when I returned to my room after breakfast. The next day was Mother's Day and I did miss my mother even though she passed away 29 years ago. I thought about how I would feel Sunday thinking about all the Mother's Day festivities and knowing that I would not be a part of any celebration.

On my way down the hall I came to Stephen's private room. He is in his twenties and is traumatically brain injured. His room is usually quiet at that time of day. Since Stephen has little function, I make it a point to look in on him just to check. I do not go in; I just look in from the door.

Right inside there is a small dry erase board, which always has some type of salutation written on it. Stephen gets a good amount of visitors and many of them leave messages on the board. Stephen is not very verbal but some staff and visitors are able to spark his interest. His father visits occasionally before breakfast, feeds him yogurt, and does range of motion exercises. Other days he brings in a manual tilt table so Stephen can simulate standing.

Since Stephen's parents are divorced, his mother visits on weekends as do his grandparents. Usually there are several family members in his room talking to him and watching television. When they leave, a different message for Stephen is on the board.

On Saturday his board read, “Stephen is the BOMB!” I do not know who wrote that but I think it was a contingent aide who worked last weekend. She talks, kids, and generally amuses Stephen constantly. Seeing that message on his board made me smile.

But on this Sunday there was something different on his board. In red and black someone had drawn a couple of tulips, bees and a sun with rays gleaming down, with the words, “Happy Mother's Day from Stephen.” As I write this now I have chills and my eyes are welling with tears. I have no idea who made the card on his board. It could have been staff or a friend of his. But it was an inspired idea. I hope his mom and all the mothers who work and visit here enjoy it as much as this resident and godmother did.

After seeing Stephen's board, I felt much better about Mother's Day this year.

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