I'll Take Care Of You
From the day he was born, Alfred needed someone to take care of him. After a head injury left him with brain damage, his body continued to grow, yet his mental development sat at a stand still. As the years passed, his body physically matured, however, he had the mentality of a 4 year old. He lived in a state hospital for 51 years and considered it home; the staff and residents his family. I thought about this as I signed the paperwork consenting the removal of life support. A few short moments later, Alfred Raymond West died with Kate and I at his bedside.
Although Alfred considered the nurses and doctors that cared for him his family, when it came to legal matters concerning his healthcare, I was all he had. I was the one who whispered, “Go on Freddy, go find Sissy” as he passed. I was the one who made his funeral arrangements. Now, a year later, I will be completing the order for his headstone. Yes, he may not have known it, but I cared for him as well. I did so with pride because I promised my mom I would.
The stone will be simple and sweet, just like Alfred. I know my mom would have wanted it to be reminiscent of the things he loved most. Luckily, I know exactly what she would have done.
I know that he loved cherries, Fritos and little red cars. I know that he hated swimming and water in general. I know that he prayed every week in the hospital’s church alongside his favorite nurse. I know that he used to hum lullabies that he learned while he still was able. I know these little things about Alfred because my mom told me so. She loved him so much. I did as well, I hope she knew that.
Alfred Raymond West may of had the body of a grown man, but he had the innocence and heart of a child. Like all children, he needed someone to take care of him. I am honored that my mom trusted me with such an important job. Even after his demise, I will continue to take keep my word.
I’ll do right by Alfred and make sure his headstone gives respect and dignity to a man whom you held so close to your heart. I won’t break my promise, mom. I’ll make you proud. Tell Alfred that I’ll take care of it.
Let’s talk again on Friday, I’ll bring the coffee. -R.