This morning’s visit was one of my favorite visits of my career as a Raggedy. Last week I was not able to visit because I was home for the weekend attending the TEDx Berkeley conference that my boy friend was helping organize. The last time I visited Roger I explained to him that I would be gone and why I was going, and he told me that he was looking forward to hearing about the TED talks and what I learned, so when I left my house this morning for Central Coast Nursing, I made sure to stick the TEDx event program in my pocket to share it with Roger.
When I walked into his room to say hello, his kind smile lit up his face as usual, but when I pulled up a chair next to his bed and showed him the program, his eyes widened and sparkled more than I had ever seen before. He touched the program with excited fingers and touched the face of each speaker on it as I told him what each one talked about. Ever curious and knowledge-hungry, he asked me what I learned and who made the greatest impact on me. I told him all about the event, and then I asked him what he would talk about if he were to give a TED talk.
He then launched into a brilliant description of changing wind patterns caused by global warming, and the research that he was a part of in the arctic. My favorite part was when he was talking about salt water ice caps and he paused, looked at me with a huge grin, and said, “And you know what they found under two miles of salt water ice? Fresh water! Fresh water, can you believe it?” His eyes shone with the kind of fiery passion that you only see when someone is talking about something close to their heart.
While the conversation was captivating, the best part was the change in Roger’s voice. As I have mentioned in previous journals, Roger struggles with his voice. The last few visits he has talked to me in a barely audible whisper, and I have to lean in very close to him to hear what he is saying. But today when I first showed him the TED program and told him about last weekend, he spoke above a whisper in a soft voice, and my heart swelled with pride for him. I looked at him and said, “Roger, I’m so impressed by how strong your voice is today,” and he smiled and said, “I don’t know what it is. Today, right now with you, is the first day that I have been able to talk.”
I am deeply moved to have shared this moment with Roger, and I feel like the luckiest person in the world to have these kinds of moments of soul connection with the people in our society who are normally forgotten.