"Death is no more than passing from one room into another. But there's a difference for me, you know. Because in that other room I shall be able to see. " Helen Keller
I had the occasion to go to a memorial service for the brother of a friend of mine. The brother was profoundly retarded and had lived nearly all of his 42 years in an institution.
The service was simple with a few moving testimonials. One caregiver talked about how the deceased would cover his face with his hands when she first started to work with him. After a few weeks, she asked him to put his hands down so that she could see his eyes. She was struck by their soulful beauty. She asked him to not hide his eyes when she came in. And even though he had the tested mentality of a one-year old, he would place his hands in his lap when she would come in.
Another caregiver talked about how he sought perfect leaves and pine cones. He would point from his wheel chair towards a leaf, examine it and twirl it, and if it was perfect, he would keep it. He did the same with pine cones. He kept those treasures on a shelf behind his door. Sometimes, he would crawl out of his bed at night and grope his way across the floor to check on his leaves and cones. This was his kind of hobby, his passion.
His father talked about how he wanted to have a normal conversation some day with his son. He said that his son was now free of his wheel chair, and that in the not too distant future, he believed that he would have that conversation with him.
Who knows what this severely disabled man thought about his leaves? Who knows how he communicated? It all seemed so God inspired to me. There are so many things that we don't understand. And in so many ways, we are each handicapped by our fear of that.