At my factory, every day group of handicapped men come in for 4 hours to do simple things such as cleaning and labeling product parts. One of them uses a wheel chair some of the time. Nice kid named, “Angel”. Hard worker. When he was a kid he was in a school bus accident that threw him up into a tree impaling him on some branches. At times I can see the scars on his head. Angel’s mom had cancer. Little woman. I had watched how she had lost much weight shrinking into herself and then as the treatment worked, she grew again filling her tiny frame out. In the past few months the cancer has come back. She is hardly recognizable she has lost so much weight from the cancer and chemotherapy. Today it was announced that Angel and his mom are moving to New York to live with her sister. I felt a little sick hearing that. Others thought nothing of it. I KNOW this woman is now dying and what she is doing is making sure her little boy-man is taken care of. He has been a burden on her for a long time but also a loving burden. Angel has trouble talking but is good at making thumbs up and OK signs. We have had simple conversations and I am proud to say I have made him laugh a lot. It’s just one of those things in life HE has gone through so much pure hell as well as his mother. It has been difficult to look at her when she goes to the factory to drop-off Angel for his 4 hours of work then pick him up. She reminds me of my mom, how wasted she was from cancer but kept going and going and going.
The sweet of all this is that the owner of the company gave Angel a specially made company T shirt. Most of the people in the company got together with Angel and posed for a group photo with him. I know he will cherish it. He felt he belonged and THAT was what the work is about, I feel: Helping the handicapped feel they have some meaning and belong. A purpose with work. Some of them appreciate it and look forward to it. Others I have seen treat it like day care for grown-ups. Angel liked working there. Having purpose and camaraderie. A feeling of being a part of something. Grinning as he worked. I hope his aunt is good to him and knowing his mother IS dying and doing a noble thing to make sure her baby is taken care of, I hope her ending is painless. Somehow. Having seen her waste away TWICE I hope that her suffering will mercifully end…. Or by some miracle of medicine she is healed.