I just let the tears flow while the woman prayed or is it talked. I shut my eyes, holding Ziim tightly to my chest, my face buried on her chest for I did not want the woman to see my tears. Ordinarily I would have something “bold” to say, but for some reason I do not know, my courage or is it boldness failed me! I heard the woman saying; this child shall be a source of joy to you, the Almighty shall not leave you, see how well you are taking care of her, others are hiding their own but you are not ashamed of your own, ha, you are showing her so much love, the Lord will strengthen you la la la, I wanted to tell her to shut up, but my voice failed me, yes, it failed me, so I just sat there like a lamb, docile and she carried on. In a few minutes she was through, but it seemed like forever!! She left and I sat there for a while, wiped my face, taking time to gather myself together, put Ziim in her push chair and out of the church we went.
Today we were at St. Dominic’s for the mid day mass. I went all that way because I had to drop a letter at the priory, then buy some fruits and get back for lunch. We had been doing okay at home, therapy done, breakfast went well, tidied or rather cleaned up and even made lunch so that we just eat when we got back. On our way I noticed that she was not relaxed or should I say not quite happy. I tried to talk to her but she just was not responding, I let her be, we’ll be there in few minutes and mass is usually 30 minutes or there about. So we’ll be home in no time, or so I thought. Traffic was light, we got to the church, I put her on her chair and she started protesting. Please Ziim, sit down, we’re almost late. I pushed her towards the door, we had to use the step, (the door where the ramp is situated is usually locked on week days), I got someone to help me lift her up the steps, now that did not go well with her, she started shouting in protest. I made effort to pacify her, inside the church she still was crying. This is strange, now heads were turning, eyes were rolling hm. To shut her up, I carried her, kissing her all over her face, she likes that, the crying stopped.
I put her back on her chair, she started complaining again, she seemed to want to tell me something, she kept opening and closing her mouth, I could not read her, she resumed crying, first in a low tune, I tried to ignore her and concentrate on the mass, then she started screaming, then I carried her to sooth her. Simply put, she made a spectacle of us today. I was embarrassed. This is not our usual “mass” so the congregation is not used to us. so I carried her all through the mass for each time I put her down she started to cry. What does she want, I kept asking myself, I just sat all through carrying her thus I could not go for communion.
After mass, I sat there, did you say glued to my seat, still carrying Ziim, waiting for people to disperse, I could not stand their stares and the pitiful glances, then I saw this elderly woman walking towards us, she actually had a smile on her face, stood at my back and gave the
talk sermon prayer I talked about above. I could not say a word for I knew my baby was telling me something but has no voice. I was crying for a voice for my baby, I was thinking; what does she want?
We went out, I delivered the letter that was one of the reasons that I chose to attend mass here instead of at Gbaja. When we got to the car, I sat her down, looked her straight in the eyes and asked her if she wanted water, of course she said nothing, just opened her mouth, like smacking it. I stopped by a nearby shop, bought water and gave her. She guzzled it down, oh my God! That was when it hit, she wanted water, I was to give her water before we left, I actually brought out the water, placed it by her seat, but we rushed out with out my giving it to her. Oh voice!! Where are thou? I wish she cold somehow say what is going on in her head!
I know that are a number of communicative and argumentative devices that could give voice to non verbal children with cerebral palsy to help them achieve some independence and free them from their existing barriers. I do not know if we have them here in Nigeria, things like these
I need a voice for Ziim and other children like her in the Cpcenter
Heelooo, anybody there?