The True Story of Little Henry.

How You Have Touched Me

I would like to introduce you to a little boy, aged twelve, whom I will call Henry to save his true identity. Henry has taught me so much about life recently and I will forever be touched for being part of his life.

It was a bright early summer afternoon the afternoon I met Henry. I could hear the bustle coming from the open farmhouse door as I slowly approached up the arched driveway. A lady met me in the doorway, kindly looking, if not a little harassed, and extended her hand in a warm greeting. "I am Grace, Henry's carer" she said cheerfully. Following her into the dimly lit kitchen, this young man, so full of energy came bouncing into sight. "This is Henry," Grace smiled. Henry stood and peered. a little like a scared rabbit in the headlights of a moving car, before suddenly extending his hand for me to shake. Such a lovely looking boy, huge blue eyes, brown hair and a smile that would break your heart. He didn't want to stand still, almost dancing on the spot. "Can we go outside" he asked cheerfully? Grace offered me a large white bowl and suggested that Henry and I should go and pick blackberry's on the road side for mummy to bake a pie.

My boss was accompanying me to this call, a new client to the firm, and he thought I would be the carer best suited to the little boy who was to be cared for. Henry was a breath of fresh air. We laughed and picked many blackberries, Henry eating his fair share of them too. With black tongue and a black mouth, he squashed so many blackberries into his mouth each time, I was afraid he would make himself sick. His conversation consisted of yes, no and many explosive wows and laughter. I noticed a little liver and white spaniel running up and down, which annoyed Henry and he screamed hup, hup at every time he saw the dog. I was soon to establish that this was Bosun, the family pet.

Henry and I wondered the hedgerow looking for all our might to find the biggest blackberry that we could, almost like challenging each other to a dual. Here, here and wow and see, and laughing and pointing. This little boy was a delight to be with. His enthusiasm was infectious, and I wanted to run and skip and jump with him. I felt like a teenager again. The cooling air prompting me to keep and eye on the time, and check that Henry was warm enough to withstand the temperature. Henry was frail in build, what you would call slight, but there was nothing slight about his personality.

I instantly warmed to this little boy, he was very free with his affection, grabbing my arm, "Lets run, run as fast as the wind", he shouted tugging at my sleeve. I noticed Henry ran with a particularly, ungainly movement. Stumbling, and I was afraid that he would tumble, as it appeared he did not understand or have any instinct to put his arms in front of him to avoid harm. Certain words would trigger songs that he had learnt or nursery rhymes. But the laughter, oh that laughter was so infectious. 

I learnt from Henry's mother that he had suffered a severe accident a couple of years ago. Whilst playing in the bedroom with his younger brother he had somehow managed to hang himself. Stopping the blood flow to his brain, and leaving him in a wheelchair for over twelve months before I met him. She went on to tell me that Henry had been a very active child prior to his accident. He played cricket and had been showing great talent. He used to horse ride and swim on a regular basis, and she hoped he would one day do some of those things again.

My heart went out to this little boy, who thou certainly no angel, and extremely hard to keep occupied to avoid his frustration turning to violent outbursts of anger, had the most beautiful, heart lifting smile. I was lucky that I found him very easy to look after. I looked forward to meeting him from the special school bus each day and we would laugh and tell each other funny little things that had happened during the day. I made him his tea, which I helped him to eat using a special spoon. I helped him with hand and eye co-ordination and eventually taught him to play connect 4. He could even count the discs up to twenty in English and French.

Showering him in the morning watching him get a little older, he wanted to be like his daddy and had his hair spiked and gelled and wore his Lynx deoderant. Cleaning his teeth was a hoot, he would pull the most silly faces to himself in the mirror,  all I could do was laugh.

We would take long walks in the balmy evening's of summer. Usually around Strangford Lough. Henry was learning to have more time for conversation, and in my company, the tantrums were rare. We took carrots to feed the donkeys, and would sit on the wall at the shore watching the boats bob up and down on the water. I spent hours reading to Henry, he loves books about wildlife and liked nothing better than to snuggle up close and copy me with the animal noises. His favourite is the gorilla, he would shout and bang his chest in imitation.

He loved other story's like Harry Potter, which we were working our way through. He loved to draw, and I taught him how to hold a pencil and use it lightly so as not to rip the page. We baked buns and made simple jewellery together, and all the time that same beautiful smile.

I spent eight glorious month's in Henry's company, and loved every moment of it. I taught him how to eat with a fork, how to open the door without getting frustrated. I allowed him to do things for himself, like put his own shirt and jumper on for school, encouraging his independence. I loved that little boy as if he was my own, and he responded so well to me, with so many hugs and touches of affection.

Life can be so cruel, and I have been taught that no body is irreplaceable. I helped to form Henry's character to the lovely young man he has become, but I am no longer allowed to care for him because I have diabetes. His mother, all be it in a nice way, has told my manager that she would be afraid of me taking a "hypo" in Henry's company, although my diabetes is well controlled. I actually believe that she was more concerned about the bond Henry and I had formed. So yet again, a smack in the face, and all I wanted to do was help. 

But having written all of that, I have some wonderful memories, and would do it all again in a flash!

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Comments 18 comments

Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

Marlene and Meredith... Love you girls.... Maxine...


Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

See Netts I told you that Little Henry misses and loves you. Now as for what I look like.. I will post a photo soon.. I am 5 foot 2, with shoulder length blonde hair ( now dyed due to grey hairs! ), have turquoise eyes and a great tan. I do not wear make up and I dress according to my mood which seems to be always in the comfortable mode. Hello jeans, sweats, shorts etc. I am not a great beauty by all means....


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Good Morning to you, my sweet new friend... I always try to believe in the power of love... I "know" that Mother loves "Henry" and wants what is best/ if he is asking for you, and she knows you are willing, I am really praying she will reconsider...but if she doesn't you know you have given him such quality/ memorable time... it is just so hard when the matter is not in your control, that boundary when it is not your family. Please take care and remember how special you are... have a great day!


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland Author

Hi Leelee, I sent you an e;mail this morning before I read the comment, Friendship is a wonderful thing, and I am so glad that you and I have bonded so well. They always say that everyone has a double, I don't know what you look like because you have no photo up!!! but our lives certainly run in tandem. xxx


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland Author

marjoujar, Good morning hunnie, I hope the sun is shining down on you today. Strangely enough, I was talking to Henry's new carer yesterday and he has been asking his mum where I am and is missing me. I miss him terribly too and have a wee tear in my eye just thinking of him. Thank you so much for your comforting comment, it means so much.

Yes I will certainly join with WE on his new site. x


Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

Netts and Maria: Us three would be the Three Amigos!!! Or the new Thelma, Louise and Marlene.. Does Marlene work? Or is there another name more suited?

You are the best friends a girl could ever want.

Love You Both


marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 5 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

bluestar... I just keep picking them obviously because this is another winner... as commented above, I am so saddened by the Mom/ her insecurities... SHE needs to write a confession (not you...!) but "Henry" will never forget you or the kindnesses that you showed him for this time in his life...

And, Mrs JB, there may be a very good reason, there are so many miles between CA and PA and Ireland... because the three of us on a wild vendetta would be a little scary...!!! But I hear you...

Voted UP & USEFUL & AWESOME & BEAUTIFUL...!


Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

Netts: Henry would be dead by now if it wasn't for you. Henry gave up when he found out that his life would never be the same. His Mother never gave encouragement etc... Henry basically had wanted to die till you!!! It was you and you alone that gave Henry the push to live life to the best of his abilities.

Have you thought about visiting him??? DO IT DO IT DO IT...

Get in your car and drive there. Knock at the door and ask for Henry. If he is still alive because we all know that physical damage is worse than mental... Look at his eyes as he greets you.... You will see the sparks! The love! .......................


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland Author

Oh Leelee what a beautiful person you are and as you say we are so much alike. I am a typical Piscean, and can always see another's point of view, that is why life is such a torment for me at times. I always live in the grey area and would not change for anyone, but I do get myself into some situations at times, Little Henry being one of them. It is good that we can support each other. xx


Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

How could you possibly not get involved? Hired help or not. You took the job that Henry's Mom did not want. Yet when she sees Henry's response to you, treatment etc. she then wants to be the doting Mom again? Selfish egotistical woman.

The old man I took care of well his family who lived just within walking distance only came by to see him when their pockets/pocketbooks lacked coin. I took care of his expenses and would have to write out checks for new cars, back taxes owed etc. Heck none of them would even own homes today if the old man did not put down the down payment. It was me for a little over 5 years that took care of him 24 seven. You name the task, I did it. Doctor visits, groceries etc.. Yet when the old man took a turn for the worse his daughter called me at my other job. I immediately rushed over with tears streaming down my face, talked to him briefly, he said he loved me and I said I love you too and that was it. His life within the hour was done. Was his family present? No. Just me.. Yet his grandaughter Kim berated me at the funeral. No she never said my name but the comments oh yes were flaming arrows only meant for me. Once the will came out, again it was me who took him to the attorney's because it was me that discovered some family members were helping themselves to his assets, his will was changed. Once the will was read, my phone rang off the wall with the can you help me, tell me why bs.. I just hung up never called anyone back and watched a selfish greedy family self destruct. You know I still think about that old man today. Anyway you did a great job, inspired that child that his life could still be productive, gave him the push to get back up and fight. You still have a piece of Henry's heart today. I know he mentions you from time to time. The Mom is racked even more with guilt. Which to me is perfect!!!


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland Author

Leelee you are so right. When I think of Henry, my heart swells and I miss his beautiful smile. But at the end of the day I was only the hired help. The way these people look at things is that the hired help should not get involved. How sad.


Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

You know Netts we are the lovers, the peace makers, the kind hearted the devoted.. We do not need to be mean and cruel to enjoy our lives. Little Henry is the only one that paid the ultimate price of losing the one person that loved him, believed in him and gave him the courage to live life with gusto. That hateful sob wasn't even thinking about him she was only thinking of herself.. What she suffered from guilt???


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland Author

You are so right Leelee, people can be so cruel to each other. I just wish that everyone thought like we do. Life is to short to suffer so much sorrow. x


Mrs. J. B. profile image

Mrs. J. B. 5 years ago from Southern California

Netts: I have to save my pennies yes pennies to come to Ireland to put some tail in place... We are so much alike!!! I took care of a well to do elderly man that had gone blind for for the last 12 years that he lived and at his funeral, his granddaughter Kim took some very spiteful swipes at me.. Oh yeah... Tomorrow we shall talk. Very touching hub the way that brought back memories of just how mean people can be..


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland Author

Hi Sharyn, you are just so correct and jealousy is a terrible emotion. I can't think what your elderly client went through missing you as she must. I know that Henry's mum was jealous too, on the odd occasion, if she was in the house, Henry called me mummy and came to me before he went to her. Her face was terribly hurt. I dare say we would do the same thing if the boot was on the other foot. Although, I would hope I would stop to think first. Lovely support and thank you. x


Sharyn's Slant profile image

Sharyn's Slant 5 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

Oh, what a great story Blue, but a sad ending. I have to think that the bond you formed with Henry did cause some sort of jealousy. I have been a caregiver for many different people throughout my life. One recent client was an elderly bed-bound woman. She was angry and yelled obscenities all the time. She wouldn't eat and refused medications. She hated having her diaper and bed changed. She was simply difficult to handle for the many caregivers that would take care of her 24/7. But I had a way with her that made her laugh and smile. She would eat for me and take her meds. I was able to calm her. She didn't give me such a hard time like the others. My 24-hour shifts with her were pleasant. Then one day, after 8 months of caring for her at least 48 hours per week, her daughter told me she did not need my services any longer. WHAT? She made up some lame excuse and that was it, I was gone and out of a job. I have no doubt that jealousy became an issue. The daughter was jealous of the bond I formed that she had not. I know in my heart that I did a great job with this client and it makes me very sad. I am sorry that you have to go through this heartache when obviously, you are a wonderful, compassionate caregiver. I wish you the best!

Sharyn


thebluestar profile image

thebluestar 5 years ago from Northern Ireland Author

Hello Bill, how are you, as ever a kind encouraging word. Glad you enjoyed, Henry is a very special boy, and I miss his laughter and gob smacking beautiful smile.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 5 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Lovely story and the quality we've come to expect from you.

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