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!