My dad passed away September 13, 2000. After this I helped my mom take care of things as far as decision making was, including going to plan meetings for Ricky. In 2002, the workers at the home where he was living at the time was asking what they could do for Ricky, as he was getting bored with the everyday life in the nursing home. I had worked at a facility which housed severe to profound mentally retarded individuals for 12 years, so I had a suggestion based on my experience.
I suggested that employment at a sheltered workshop be looked into. Ricky was then placed at Parma Adult Workshop and not only did he have something to do during the week, but he got a small paycheck as well. He used to get upset when there was no work to do, but got to interact with others closer to his age. everything worked well until the fall of 2003.
My mother's health was gradually deteriorating. I had gone with her to the doctor's one day. The doctor called me into the hall and told me that she didn't have too long to live, a fact my mother already knew. At the time she was living over 40 miles from me and I was the only one she trusted so when she had to go to the emergency facility she called me. Kathy and I then looked into a house she could rent in Rittman so if she needed me I would only would be minutes away. I moved her there October 1, 2003.
Ricky was still 30 miles away and wasn't happy about it. He showed this with his behavior. He called our house and told us that he was bad and grounded himself and wouldn't go to workshop. Kathy once again came to the rescue. She contacted the two nursing facilities in Rittman and was able to get him a bed at Autumn Extended Care facility, which was 1/2 mile from where my mother was staying. We moved Ricky there and as he was being examined by the staff, there was one thing repeated by the workers: He's cute. I'm sure Ricky ate that up.
The following Monday, I took mom there and she said that she liked the facility. That was important to me. I told my mother when she called me at 4am to come over to fix her concentrator, which gave her oxygen to breathe, that as long as the Bible contains the words "Honor thy mother and father," I would be there for her.
That Thanksgiving, we took Ricky to our mother's house for dinner. Mom loved having him there. We all spent Christmas Eve at Autumnwood. Our mother's health started taking a turn for the worse in early February. Hospice then took over health care. March 7, was Mom's 76th birthday and we all gathered at her house for a birthday party. April 4, she left this life. Mom was always concerned who would take care of Richard and Deirdre. Kathy and I told her that we would, and she died peacefully knowing that they would be fine.
Like I said in a previous post, Kathy pulled strings to get Ricky into the Nick Amster Workshop in Wooster, Ohio along with our sister Deirdre, whose seizures had disabled her from outside employment.
Ricky continued to touch those around us...
Next: Ricky's Legacy