Saturday, February 25, 2012



Only for two nights.



We've been gone almost for the entire month of February, we've driven through the wilds of Northern Ontario, survived the cold in Winnipeg, only to be caught in a snow storm on the last few miles of the trip. We ground to a very slow crawl for miles and miles, following two plows for a while, then following in the tracks of a lorry being carefully driven. We saw the estimated time of arrival slowly get later and later and later. With about a hundred kilometers to go we discovered we had to stop and pick something up - it was out of our way by only a few blocks and a few minutes but it seemed like sheer drudgery doing it.

Our book on tape ended just as we pulled into the driveway. It was just marvelous coming into our home. Seeing familiar surroundings, seeing our idiosyncratic tastes displayed everywhere. After the sterile loveliness of hotels and motels - all perfectly clean and tastefully appointed, it's nice to be in our own little bit of mess. Living in rooms designed for all gets wearying - I know I'm moaning here but I've a point to make.

Checking email I found one telling me that one of the big institutions in Moose Jaw is closing. I've been there. It's big. I thought of all those men and women coming home. I've been away for a month and I missed this place. My own little space in my own little community, I missed it like mad. For many who will be coming home, it will feel like they are leaving home. For many the routines of regular living will seem chaotic. For many, there will be the challenge of adapting to the idea of 'home'.

For each person, called 'patient's' by the newspaper article, I hope they have the patience to readjust to the idea of liberty, and freedom, and choice. I hope that they will learn to love a stuff covered ottoman as much as I do. I hope they will feel as embraced by the reality of 'home' as much as the idea of 'home'. I hope they will experience, like I did moments ago, a sense that their destination was and always will be forever 'home'.


Anonymous said...

How encouraging - let us hope everyone feels the warmth that "home" brings. That all the change and challenges will bring them as much joy as coming home brings you. Whew! What a journey - glad you are safe.

Anonymous said...

Home: my sanctuary and my safe place. I close the door to the world and lay my head down to rest.

Only a very select number of people is sometimes invited to share time with me there...


Bubbles said...

Dave... my brother was institutionalized for 30 plus years.. I think we spent the first ten years undoing what had been done... he is one for routines and knowing whats coming next... as one would expect... and although food is always his number priority... to know when its coming next and what kind... when he spends time with me... his next priority (compulsively) is to know when he will be going home... to my fathers home... I'm a very busy lady... I work full time, I'm a single mom and as all Social Workers do I take on wayyyyy too many extras... I've toyed with the idea of not taking him three Saturdays a month because it can be just too much at times but... there is a huge part of me that feels he has missed out on so much in life and experienced such a cold unattached existence that I can't let go of taking him and have a worker take him instead... because workers see the behaviour and not the man and don't make him feel at home... in my home... I can.. or at least as close as possible to that sense that he feels at my dads. Here's hoping all of those individuals find home just as my brother has!

John R. said...

I was in San Antonio, Texas, on the road spreading the good word about the NADSP Code of Ethics as well. Stayed at a decent hotel...did not have the same stuff to deal with that you did this month...however...

coming home to the smell, style and safety of my home is a true relief and delight.....

Home is more than in the heart...indeed, it includes all the stuff we put in our homes to make us feel, I suppose, home....

Belly (Liz McLennan) said...

It's a great feeling, isn't it, coming home? Even when I've only been gone a day or so, my heart beats faster as soon as I pull off the highway and begin to wend through the roads and streets to home.

Glad you're enjoying yours, Dave. And the news about the institution in Moose Jaw is welcome and encouraging. Wishing all those affected a happy journey toward their futures...and an entirely different understanding of home.

Anonymous said...

It makes my head hurt to think that there are still institutions. It makes my heart shrivel that there are people still incarcerated in them. I’ve worked in institutions for people with learning disabilities and with people who lived in them and were moved to houses in towns where things were ‘better’- where people have their own rooms, individual lives, get to keep their own belongings. Little, obvious things that are so enormous.
I’ve worked with people whose lives started when they left the institution. And also with a few people who grieved long and hard and continuously for the loss of their home, the institution.
I think for some there was a bad-ness in the institutions that could not be undone, that it stole the possibility of an ‘ordinary’ life even when let out of the institution.
Indeed let us home everyone feels the warmth that ‘home’ brings. But let us also remember for some there has been an injury, and outrage that cannot be remedied or undone by the closure of institutions.
I think in our celebration of ‘resettlement’ (as it was called in the uk) we deny the reality and continuing anguish of some who lived in institutions.

Jayne said...

why do people forget that when someone comes to stay that they are a welcome stranger who will be a passing or even lead to them being an ever present friend in your life. Hospitality is about making someone feel away but also near to their own home,safe and comfortable and putting yourself out to do this. That is the joy of welcoming new people into your life and your place.
take a Buddhist approach and you will be very close
Your Welsh friends so glad you are safe and home
Jayne and all at Carrog Millxxx

Jayne Wales said...

Hey though,

After years of working helping people to get their own places there are still some very, very lonely people who just have a flat and a staff member and don't rate their place as home or arriving!!

We are helping with a central apartment block, great flats, fantastic rents and I dared to suggest that it could be mixed tenure but the first offers should be for people with disabilities who can set the scene about how the place should be occupied. We were accused of setting up a ghetto!! I just find that after years of setting up lonely people on their own there is perhaps some joy in being able to choose to be with some people who maybe understand just how hard it is.

Please tell me that I am either so wrong or maybe a bit right.

Jayne, Wales

Sher said...

I work for an organization that supports people affected by developmental disability to live in their own homes. Unfortunately, my experience has been that the staff that support people have more of a say about how the home is set up than the people who live there. My experience is that people don't often even choose what they eat for dinner. Home is very personal to each of us, and I wonder sometimes what home really means to the people we support. Something to always be aware of.

Dave Hingsburger said...

coffeetalk, I agree with you, 'community living' has a long way to go in our service to people with disabilities. We've got to get a handle on that 'power' thing that exists between care providers and care recipients ... but I think that the more we talk about it the closer we get.