Monday, January 8, 2007

Hope Disguised as Details

On Friday I visited a family whose previous two years have included caring for their disabled daughter. After an accident in which she was able to save her two younger siblings she became non-verbal and now has limited control of her body. Damage was done to her brain and this week the family will be leaving for China for a stem cell replacement procedure in hopes of restoring some of her capacities. Bleak as her situation may seem and as sad as the story truly is, I noticed the family members laden with hope. Her grandparents who were living the RV retired life-fantasy all across the country made a detour and parked thier mobile home in the backyard of her home to assist in caring for their granddaughter. As an interview was being conducted in the living room I spent time in her quiet room with her grandmother. "I try and do anything to spark this girl's intellect." For almost 45 minutes I watched her grandmother flip through each page of a teen magazine, describing every detail of every page, picture and advertisement to her granddaughter. Comments on makeup, a certain celebrities dress, color, and even opinions on "what kid's are wearing these days" came from grandma as if she were conversing with someone who can communicate with more than glances,blinking and stares. I listened to her constant voice, sweet and unhurried in spaces where I didn't photograph. Realizing that this reading was more than just attempting to incite some sort of brain activity I began to notice that some forms of therapy reflect the desires of the heart that belong to the healer. With each statment and unanswered question a vocal symbol of hope was created. From her father's eyes and plans for the medical procedure it is clear that hope is not only present but living, perhaps even breathing in some way. I didn't hear much about the procedure as I spent my time in the room away from the interview, although I can imagine that results are not in any way guaranteed and the family plans on dealing with a variety of outcomes to the treatment. My hope aside from hoping that the procedure works and restores her in any way, is that the family will have solace in whatever comes of the trip across the world. Standing in one place, reading and commenting page for page on a frivilous magazine can only be a fraction of the hope, dedication and love the family has and continues to put forth. No matter what happens I hope they can remember what they have done for their girl. Good luck and God bless.