Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Sleepless in London

I suppose it's no surprise that I was woken up this morning too early by a bad dream. Any schmuck could decipher the meaning in the simple iterations of my nightmare. I am at the country house that my grandmother built - "the cottage", we call it. It is the home of my most treasured memories of safety in the loving relationships of our family. In my dream, a stranger has fixed the window behind the curtain so that they could get in when we were not there. An unknown intruder has access to my santuary.

After five years in London, we are packing to return home. Everywhere there are piles of books, crockery and photo frames with post-it notes hastily affixed, shouting orders of "Sea shipment!" or "Medical supplies - do not pack!" or "Belongs to the High Commission, leave alone!". The packers arrive the day after tomorrow.

On August 29th, we fly home to Ottawa and Nicholas will go directly from the airport to his new dwelling place, The Ottawa Rotary Home. The Rotary Home is a beautiful new residence with caring and clever staff. I know Nicholas will eventually be very happy and very safe there. But for now, we are all nervous and worried.

We have two three hour skype interviews coming up with the Ontario Ministry of Community and Social Services. These interviews are part of their new Supports Scale process of assessment for social care funding. To prepare for those interviews, I did a little research into the type of questions they might ask Nicholas and I found these examples: "What are your dreams?" "What do you think other people like best about you?"

Nicholas uses an Ipad application called Proloquo2Go to communicate and it's slow going. But having an existential conversation with Nicholas is worth the wait. When I asked Nick what he thought others liked best about him, I was surprised and intrigued by his response. "Different" he chose from a long list of adjectives. "You mean your disability?", I asked. "Yeah", he said. "So, you think that people like you because of your disability, because you are different?" "Yeah." Still wanting to explore this idea, I queried "what is it about your disability that you think people like?" "Still." was Nick's reply. "Wow, I think you're right", I told him. "You are a great listener. You don't run off when people are talking to you. You are very perceptive." The irony is that I suspect those same qualities are what he likes least about himself. But I will probe further today.

Next, I asked "What are your dreams?" Nick's response tells alot about his character. After lots of stops and starts, I finally understood his response. "I want to go on a roadtrip with my old friend Adam to find the Ultimate Warrior". For non-officionados of the World Wrestling Entertainment, the Ultimate Warrior is the loopiest wrestler in the history of that organization and for the past ten years or so, he is has disappeared from the public eye. Nick and I burst out laughing and googled more of the Ultimate Warrior's crazy rants on YouTube. "Wait till the Ministry of Social Services hears your dream!", I laughed, "they'll have to fund it!"

Later on in the evening, Jim, Natalie and I watched the news. London is burning. Friends who live in Hackney and Croyden dodged missiles and infernos.

The old is burning - safety is a memory. No wonder I had my dream.


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