Corey has had a few tough days. For the most part she’s been happy and content during the mornings but by late afternoon and evening she can show extreme anger. Sometimes it’s related to pain; sometimes its frustration and sometimes I think she’s just plain tired of it all.
When she gets upset, she lurches forward in her chair and screams out. She will reach for her feeding tube, attempting to pull it out. She will tear at her clothing, throw whatever she can get her hands on and pull her hair. If we maintain a quiet tone of voice, acknowledge what she is trying to say and try to comfort her it usually calms her down. I have found that a warm shower will also help calm her down; on a bad day we have an extra long spa session. Forget rinse and repeat, sometimes I wash her hair 3-4 times so she can relax with a good head massage.
Music has also made a difference in her temperament. I introduced Corey to a new artist; Melody Gardot. She is the young woman that called us a few weeks ago. She survived her accident which was January 2003. I keep thinking of the details of her recovery. She was in a body cast for one year and didn’t speak for two years. Music Therapy helped her regain her voice and ability to speak. 6 years after her accident she began her professional singing career. I ordered her CD’s and I’m happy to say that Corey is enjoying the sound of her voice. I was telling my brother about my conversation with Melody and his comment was, “you know what that phone call was, don’t you”? “The future Corey called you”.
I have been thinking of that comment all day. As I watch “present day” Corey, I wonder who the future Corey will be. Today my thoughts have been bouncing from the past, present and future. When she is in the middle of her temper tantrums I think back to when she was little. What did I do back then? Tonight as I stroked her hair for hours to try and get her to sleep I thought of the hours it took to settle her down when she was in her crib. I find myself memorizing her face, just as I did when she was a baby. I loved the quiet times in the middle of the night when it was just us. I watch her as her head rests on her teacup pillow case and it reminds me of decorating her first “pre-teen” bedroom. We stenciled teacups as a border and she picked the paint for her room; Tree Frog Green ~ I don’t know why I remember that?
Corey has started to ask to roll on her side to sleep. She always loved sleeping with multiple pillows. When positioned we used to say she was in her birds nest. Her girlfriend Leah brought her a pink teddy bear in the hospital. She now has a habit of holding this bear and stroking her face methodically as she lull’s her self to sleep. Tonight her aggravation kept her from settling down. Remembering that smell is the strongest sense we have, in desperation I channeled my mother for help. I still have her perfume; Shalimar. I put a few drops on top of the bears head. Corey drew it to her face, smiled and closed her eyes. As I watched her cuddle her bear I thought of the time Mom and Dad brought the kids to Theodore Roosevelt’s house on Long Island. Mom bought the kids souvenir Teddy Bears; coined after the President. Corey has been collecting Teddy Bears ever since that trip.
Memories continued to flood my mind. I read an article today about a woman recounting her last moments with her husband before he left for work the morning of 9/11. The last memory she had was watching him leave the room. I instantly visualized watching Corey walk out the side door of the laundry room the night of her accident. I called after her, “I love you, have fun, and be careful”.
The future Corey…who will she be? I picture a beautiful woman, laughing as she walks with girlfriends, content as she plates a dish reflecting her developing culinary expertise, calling me on the phone to tell me what she’d been doing since the last phone conversation.
Corey we can dream of what’s to come. We can smile and cry as we remember what we’ve shared, but the most important thought is what we do to focus on what we have today. As we know, life can change in a minute. All we really have is right now. When we are together and you look me in the eye I feel your connection. You are very present. I feel your anger and your frustration but I also feel your happiness. You speak loud and clear with your eyes. Today was a hard day but it was a great day because we still have you and we can work towards the future together. Happy dreams, xoxo