Heart Wing Stories
Even though I love all the children at Casa equally, there is someone very special to me and his name is Quin. He has touched my heart like no other besides my own. Quin was very shy when he first came to live at Casa, but over the last few months, he has started communicating and responding more and more each day. Just the other day while waiting at an appointment, I was reading a book to him. Suddenly, he taps my head and looked away. The look on his face told me that he might be playing a game with me…and after the third time, he tapped my head and looked away, I knew it was a game. As I acknowledged that someone had tapped my head, he just smiled and his eyes said “It wasn’t me!” That is the amazing part; all the residents at Casa have their own special way of communicating with us. I also have enjoyed going to Quin’s baseball games… Go Challengers!
Have you ever had a day when your starting a new job and someone wants your attention. Well that’s what happened to me when I started here at Casa. The day I started I was being introduced to the children and young adults and one of the children, Laura kicked me when I turned away. I turned back toward her and asked if she just kicked me. She laughed and I was hooked. They all have different personalities and even though they can’t speak, they can communicate in their own way. We have to be willing to listen not just with our ears, but with our hearts. They are truly angels here on earth.
It was Patrick’s birthday and I told him that I would sing to him “Strangers In The Night”, and I did and he just loved it. It was cute to see his expressions. All our children and young adults have love for us no matter what. I just love them all.
A few years ago, we had a boy by the name of Shawn. He was a Native American boy and was a hand full, in the best kind of way. One day, I was going to put a big table together and Shawn and I were in the room together, and he was supposed to be my special helper. After the job was done, one of the staff members told Shawn to say “Thank you Mickey,” I knew that Shawn could talk a little but to hear him say those words, “Thank you Mickey” was the coolest thing in the world. I mean, the hair on the back of my neck stood up and a chill just ran right through me. It’s not every day that one of our special children at Casa can say thank you for anything we do for them, so when it happens, you must treasure it.
I just came back from vacation and the reaction I got from the residents. I knew that they missed me as I missed them. Ronnie gave me the biggest smile ever, Patrick’s eyes got big, and smiled when he heard my voice, Adam wouldn’t stop talking to me, Andrea kissed my hand, Jayne smiled and laughed, Lizzy gave me a dirty look (attitude), and Colleen smiled and giggled. I got hugs and kisses from Sandra, “moo’s” from Quin telling me he wanted a story. Each resident has taught me a lot. We are the lucky ones for being able to work here.
Special Memories from Staff
Rosa, Head Cook
It was Patrick’s birthday and I told him that I would sing to him, “Stranger’s in the Night.” And I did and he loved it.” It was so cute! I love cooking and spoiling them with their favorite snacks.
At a glance, Veronica and I seem like unlikely friends. Veronica is the “fashion queen” of Casa Angelica and can happily spend an hour looking at celebrity fashion magazines; I can barely manage to put on scrubs that match. Veronica’s nails are always perfectly manicured and painted, while mine are clipped and boring. She is a champion shopper, and when it’s time for us to leave the mall she’s full of energy and I’m exhausted. I really like spending time outdoors, and she’s much happier being cozy inside. I’m particularly fond of a chill in the air, and she thinks that is absolutely crazy. Like all other mismatched friends, though, we somehow agree on one thing; we love spending time together!
Though she doesn’t complain, I know that Veronica has not had an easy life. She faces great physical discomfort every day and is unable to communicate succinctly what’s bothering her. She has lost people she deeply cared about and on whom she depended. I could go on listing Veronica’s challenges, but what’s most important about her is what she is able to accomplish. Veronica gets up and goes to work every weekday and participates fully in whatever the day brings. She greets the people who care for her with equanimity and great patience. She never complains without reason or begrudges attention given elsewhere. She is open to all experiences and tries to find a way to enjoy them even when they are difficult for her. I don’t mean to paint a picture of someone without attitude – because Veronica is full of personality and definitely lets us know when we need to do it her way! She is always forgiving, though, and innocently optimistic.
My favorite moments at Casa Angelica are those in which staff and resident connect on a level that has nothing to do with disability or diagnosis. As Antoine de Saint-Exupery wrote, “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.” Veronica has this type of prodigious insight. She is a wonderful role
model, and I hope always to live the lessons she has taught me. In turn, I hope that she embraces my steadfast belief that she is capable of anything she wishes and has great gifts to share. I look forward to a lifetime of friendship with Veronica.
April Garcia RN, Director of Nursing
I’m so honored to be able to say that Ronnie is my friend, because he is one of the greatest people you will ever meet. Ronnie and I became friends soon after I started at Casa Angelica. Our favorite past time together is just chatting! When I have downtime at work, I find myself sitting with Ronnie and telling him all about my day, and he loves it! It doesn’t matter if I’m talking about silly things like what I ate for breakfast, or if we are talking about more serious things like when my mom was sick- either way he very attentively listens to me and responds by laughing and smiling (and frowning at appropriate times!). He also tells me all about him; he enjoys when I ask him questions and he will smile meaning “yes” or frown meaning “no.” We have so much fun together; sometimes we’ll make each other laugh so much that we almost can’t stop!
Ronnie is a great role model to all that meets him. He has been through a lot in his life, and no matter what life throws at him he is always happy. He is always forgiving, loving, and a great friend to all. I think the biggest thing that he has taught me is to always smile even through the tears. When I’m having a bad day or feeling sad about something, all I have to do is talk to Ronnie and when smiles at me, I’m suddenly happy again
All of the young people at Casa have taught me something about life. They are all so special, and I’m so thankful that I have them all in my life!
A few years ago, we had a boy by the name of Shawn. He was a Native American boy and was a hand full, in the best kind of way. One day, I was going to put a big table together and Shawn and I were in the room together, and he was supposed to be my special helper. After the job was done, one of the staff members told Shawn to say “Thank you Mickey,” I knew that Shawn could talk a little but to hear him say those words, “Thank you Mickey” was the coolest thing in the world. I mean the hair on the back of my neck stood up and a chill just ran right through me. It’s not every day that one of our special children at Casa can say thank you for anything we do for them, so when it happens you must treasure it.