wings and things


on November 28, 2011

I have just remembered a weird coincidence in light of this blog; the first ever short story I wrote as an adult was entitled ‘Wings’. It wasn’t published for years and it wasn’t published with that title, however its wings motif was, and still is, a powerful memory for me, an etching in my psyche.

I was a new nurse and ‘Simeon’ was the patient for whom I was primarily in charge when I was on duty. It was a hostel for multiply disabled people, primarily children. I was 23 and so was Sim but he was the size of a small, skinny child; he looked about eight years of age.

Sim’s diagnosis was complicated. He was deaf, mute, epileptic, quadriplegic and he had a severe deformity of the spine. Having never received adequate physiotherapy, his body had contractured into the fixed crookedness of a series of triangles. He looked a bit like a mathematical model; his elbows and knees were bent inwards and were fixed that way. It would have been impossible to straighten any of his limbs without breaking them, so the only way to keep him comfortable was to position him on a beanbag.

Simeon did not look like a human being; he looked like a broken bird.

There is more to tell about Simeon but I will save that for another post. It has been strange to all of a sudden remember him – just today. He died five years ago.

13 responses to “Wings

  1. Tilly Bud says:

    Life does that to us sometimes.

  2. meglane says:

    I remember you bringing him home for a long weekend, to our Boyanup property. You had to settle him on a beanbag in the back of your little hatchback car, and stop many times en route from Perth, to rearrange him on the beanbag, and hold water to his lips. You spent the weekend talking to him as you would have spoken to any young adult, a conversation totally one-sided and so full of respect, for what he may possibly, in some part of his brain, have understood. “You never know,” was what you said when I queried the adult chatter that you continued as you cared so lovingly for him the whole weekend. You carried him out to the orchard, and showed him the fruit trees, and spoke of the family, and anyone listening might have assumed you were chatting to a fellow uni student. I too wondered if inside this grotesque, inhuman lost soul, you had lit a spark that wouldn’t be extinguished. I was proud to be your mother. Please publish this although you won’t want to.ML.

  3. cuhome says:

    You didn’t forget, so you could share that post with so many people, moving them, five years later. And his life goes on, and on, and on. Thanks for sharing this post!

  4. I hope Simeon lived a fulfilling life. One of my best friends is a nurse who did home care for years, mostly disabled children. She loved them and read to them often. She brought them to meetings occasionally where we met them. Beautiful sparks of life. Simeon was lucky to have met you.

  5. Kim says:

    Thanks for the ‘like’ on my Cuckoo Clock review. I just checked out your blog and was extremely moved by this post. (And your mother’s comment as well.) Looking forward to more on Sim and also more of your bird tales.

  6. What a moving story by both you and your mother. Too often we honor others with our Empathy. Rarely do we follow through by extending our Compassion. I am so glad Simeon had you, Julie, in his life. Even for a while.

  7. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    Wow, Julie, this is quite some story. I think you’d be a beautiful nurse. This is a touching story.(hope you’re feeling better, by the way 🙂 )

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