Lost a Friend

Leslie copyI was employed as a direct care worker people with developmental disabilities In New York and Tennessee for a total of 16 years. The pay was poor but there were benefits and insurance and I liked my job. I declined opportunities to advance into management which would have paid more but also take me away from working directly with our people…my friends. One of my friends was Leslie who was bed ridden when not in his wheelchair. He was smart and funny and had a sharp tongue that he wasn’t afraid to use. I was adept at loading him up onto the wheel chair van so I took him to many appointments and outings. One time after an appointment in Buffalo I took him to see the inside the Basilica. For once he didn’t talk much. He just kept looking around at everything in awe. He was big on TV trivia. “What was the neighbor’s name on Bewitched?” Gladys. “What did her husband always say to her?” Gladys, take your medicine. One time when he had gotten a positive note from staff. I told him it was nice and then told him how I once came home and found my wife and all her belongings gone. She left a short note saying “Bye Arthur.” Not even a “good” bye. He thought that was hilarious. As I put him on the bus the next morning he grinned at me and said “Bye Arthur.” The driver thought he was just saying goodbye but I knew different. A couple of years after I left the agency I stopped by the group home to visit the guys. They told me Leslie was in bed and probably asleep. I cracked his door opened and peaked in without a word. Then I heard his voice coming from his bed, “Bye Arthur.” He had a great memory. He could be ornery and impatient. One time he snapped at me. “I’m going to rip off your head and show it to you!”  “Leslie, that isn’t even scary,” I responded. “Its just puzzling. How are you going to show me my own head? Run around until you find a mirror? By then the moment is gone. Its the heart Leslie. You are suppose to rip out the heart and show it.” “Oh…that’s right,” he said meekly and then we both started laughing. We did laugh a lot. His physical disability was chronic and progressive but he didn’t talk much about it and didn’t seem to feel sorry for himself. With his body failing him he was not long for this world and I just learned of his passing. I hope angels are good at TV trivia.

13 thoughts on “Lost a Friend

  1. There is an empty place in all our hearts until we meet Leslie again, Leslie was an angel that was among us and now he his angel soul walks beside us and will guide us …. you are missed Leslie. Sorry for your loss, and to all of us that knew Leslie.

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  2. So sorry Arthur. I still think about Jon often and have the picture of him and I that you took in Gatlinburg up. I’ve never handled loss very well. Maybe tv trivia and our gentle giant will meet up in heaven. Hugs to you.

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  3. Sorry for your loss Art. You are a good story teller also. Well spoken. He`d be proud of your words. May he R.I.P.

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  4. Sorry for your loss ! I too worked with him for many years An got a special picture an was framed ! He will be missed now he can run an enjoy life ! Boy how he did love Halloween 🎃 Barbara

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    1. One time I took him to see his pretty doctor who he had been promising a picture to for a long time. When she jokingly asked him “Where is my picture? He said, “I’m sorry baby…just give me two more chances!” I use that one sometimes. lol

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