Thursday, January 19, 2017

Inauguration Day

Well, as I write this we are just one day away from a new Presidential inauguration. I can't help but think back eight years ago, when President Obama took office for the first time. I was working in Camden, NJ, a depressed area whose residents are mostly African American. On that day I remember looking at my watch at 11:45 am because Route 130 which runs through Camden, typically packed with cars at that time of day, was almost completely empty. I was en route to the home of a patient I'll call "Gladys."

Gladys, a 70-ish African American woman, lived in a run-down row-house in a run-down neighborhood in the most run-down city in America. I had been providing speech/language therapy for a couple of months now, twice a week, to address her difficulty in communicating following a severe stroke. We had become good friends in the meantime.

I doubt there were very many people in Camden who would have even opened their doors to this white therapist on this day of all days, minutes before the inauguration ceremony of the first African American President of the United States. But Gladys did, and she welcomed me inside. We sat in her little room in the back of the house, side by side, and watched her little television that was usually tuned to religious stations. She reached out and took my hand, and together we watched the swearing-in as tears ran down, first her cheeks and then mine. We listened intently to the new President's speech, with the occasional mm-mm sounding softly in response to a point. At the end of the speech, Gladys turned to me, looked into my eyes, and said simply, Thank you."

I was so grateful that we could share this moment together.

We were then free to begin therapy, but I have no memory of that! In the whole scheme of things, the most important thing was that two women, of different generations, race, and backgrounds, came together to witness a historic moment and made a connection. My fervent prayer is that our new President will find a way to bring people together and that he will serve all Americans including the "Gladyses" out there.

May God bless America.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you trisha for sharing this lovely story this has helped me soo much!🙏🏻