Ben moved to The Elizabeth Richardson Center…Springdale, AR—July 5th, 2013.
Jay and I picked Ben up at the Conway Human Development Center, in Conway, AR early in the morning on June 28th. We thought it might be a very traumatic time, as Ben had lived there 37 years (from age 13 to age 50). It proved to be just the opposite…almost as liberating as bringing him home from the Mid-Missouri Mental Health Clinic in Columbia, MO, AND moving to Kansas City from Lebanon, MO in 1968 (both were when Ben was 6 years old). His loving classroom teacher and his residence head (who had both worked with Ben for at least 25 years or more) were not there that day. I don’t think the teacher felt she could handle it…as she loved Ben almost like a mother would, and the other was suffering from a bad back. SO, only Ben’s social worker and another staff member were there. Thankfully, there were no emotional scenes, just a few tears, and for Ben’s sake, very little “fan-fare!” They had all his belongings boxed and bagged, and helped us load them up before Ben even came to the car, and he got in and never looked back.
He was then home for a week-long visit and did GREAT! He got to hear the 1st Methodist Choir practice on Saturday (June 29th), and then we went to Church on the 30th and heard the Salute to the Armed Forces, etc. It was BEAUTIFUL, and Ben loved it, AND loved going to Sunday School and seeing the members of that class who pray for him. He looked SO happy, and they sang “Happy Birthday” to him. During the week, I sorted out his clothing, and we shopped for things he would need in Springdale, and I got them marked with his name. On Monday evening, John (his brother) came over for dinner, and we had Ben’s birthday cake (Baskin-Robbin’s roll cake with mint chip ice-cream and M & M’s), and we gave him a portable DVD player and case, along with two patriotic t-shirts. We went to the end of the CWC Prayer Connection on Tues., and he got to meet the ladies there that pray for him, and to eat some delicious food. On Wednesday, we went to the Prayer/Praise meeting and they sang “Happy Birthday” to him and he looked VERY pleased. Then, we tried to go to the movie of “Star-Trek” but the projector was broken, so we ended up seeing “Superman—the Man of Steel.” He loved the popcorn, and didn’t seem to care which movie it was—Ha! On Thursday (4th of July)…we took it easy, and then watched “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” and the 4th of July celebrations in Washington, D.C. and New York City…complete with beautiful music and spectacular fireworks. Then, it was time for our departure the next day for Ben’s new adventure in Springdale, AR. We had taken him by there and shown him the new residence, and his room in April when he was home, and I had talked with him about his move quite a bit at different intervals while he was home this time, but actually moving him became a reality on July 5th, 2013. He was “stoic,”…but seemed to understand (as much as possible), and helped us carry all his belongings into his room (the other 9 residents were at work…as we got there about 10:45am). We made his bed (a new queen-sized mattress and box-springs…just for him alone), and put his clothes in his chest-of-drawers and closet, hung pictures on the walls, and then said our good-byes and left. He did not act sad or anxious…but I told him, “This will be your new home, and it is so nice and there will only be 9 others living here with you instead of 29…and you will like it, I know. We like it for you, and will still come and get you, and bring you home for visits. Be a brave and peaceful man Ben. You are such a fine gentleman, and we love you.” Several of the staff were there, and they were going to get Ben some lunch after we left, and he was going to then rest. All this to say—GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST…FOR TAKING CARE OF OUR EVERY NEED, AND THOSE OF BEN…FOR MAKING SMOOTH WHAT COULD HAVE BEEN TRAUMATIC AND ROCKY, AND FOR GOING AHEAD OF US AND BEN TO PREPARE THE WAY FOR HIM, AND TO PROVIDE YOUR FRIENDS FOR BEN!
Jay and I ate at Wendy’s in Springdale…then made the trip home. It is only 2 hours there and 2 hours back compared to 4 hours each way to Conway…all the difference in the world. We got home about 3:30pm, and BOTH took a nap! It had gone VERY well, but was still physically and emotionally exhausting! It was strangely quiet at home…as Ben’s presence still filled the air, but I got his bedclothes washed and dried, and put back on his bed, and got the middle bathroom cleaned. Jay and I just took it easy the rest of the evening. When I woke up in the night, I found myself crying deep, dry chest cries…releasing all the pent-up emotions of the months of waiting and wondering and trusting…not tears of sadness, but of hope and “new-beginnings” for Ben. This place is SO nice Lord…it’s like the difference between night and day when picturing Ben there in our mind’s eye…SO much “homier!” We are SO thankful Ben had a place all those years…but SO thankful for a change at this stage of his life and ours…a prettier, more peaceful place…as Ben certainly deserves it. Dear Lord…we have clung to Your promises…both in the Scriptures and to me personally in my quiet times with You. You have said that You would go before Ben…that You knew all about him and would provide for him…that You would open his mouth so that words would pour forth, and open his mind to peace and understanding. We believe You…and have obeyed…even when it seemed an impossibility. We believed that NOTHING is impossible for YOU! We are looking to You with expectation and hope…AND WITH GRATITUDE AND PRAISE! HALLELUJAH! By: Carole Norman Scott