A police officer was the first human to show me kindness. When he lifted me and covered my nakedness, he smiled at me in a kind way. He rescued me from certain death and took me to a hospital, while his partners arrested those whom should have been kind to me and the ambulance drivers took care of my big sister.
As a child, I was considered “retarded”, because of how I coped with situations over which I had no control. By the time I was 5 years old, I had been in and out of foster homes and hospitals. My mother died when I was 3 years 5 months old and from then until that officer rescued me, my sister and I had known only cruelty. The judge called me a “feral child” and those who should have taken care of me “animals”. Yet, real animals have always been kind to me.
For those who were trying to be kind (the doctors, nurses, therapists, and others): I was having to deal with things I did not understand, so I did not behave the way a “normal” child would. I did not speak, only because I had been trained to not speak, not because I did not know how (But they did not know that). I used my fingers to eat, only because I had been forced to live outside and did not have silverware, plates, cups etc. Animals had shown me how to drink and eat so I had survived in spite of the odds.
The staff at the hospital had to restrain me to a bed, only because up until then I had not been allowed to be on a bed and was afraid to be up that high. I had no idea what a bathroom was supposed to be used for, because the only time I was in one: someone was trying to kill me. I did what I needed to do on the floor as I had done outside on the ground behind the grape arbor. I did not know how to be clean as most people know clean, nor brushing of teeth, etc. To the world’s view, I was “retarded”. Not because God made me that way, but because men and women had made me that way.
There was one nurse in particular, and even though I don’t know her name, I shall never forget her and what she did for me. She was the first to help me understand goodness and patience. As a wee child, to be honest, people scared me. I kept expecting someone to do to me what had been done in the past, and thus I struggled when people tried to help me. For me, it was life or death, but they did not understand that. In the hospital, I slept under the bed when they did not restrain me. I could not stand up due to damage, until after doctors fixed my body. Pain was normal for me, but this pain was to relieve pain, and that was confusing to me. I was not used to “not” having pain.
The nurse of whom I speak was able to take me into the bathroom because of her kindness. While she kept me on the toilet, she did not force me, but rather she sat on the floor next to the toilet to keep me company. She talked to me as she waited for me to “use” it. I can not tell you how long it took, I just know when I finally did “use” it, that nurse clapped her hands and then gently lifted me down. Her touch was kindness, not cruelty; something I was not used to. The only other person who had shown me kindness was that police officer. As she showed me the rest of what I needed to learn, I was not afraid and I did learn. Normally when people touched me there was pain, but with her, there was no pain; when other people wanted me to do something, there was pain, but never from her.
As an adult, when I am under a lot of stress, I still cope in ways others may not understand. Yet, for me, I found ways to survive and I am a good member of society. I learned by remembering the kindness of certain strangers and trying to be like them.
As a religious person, I know where goodness comes from. I hope my life can help others to know when they are kind, they are appreciated more than they will ever know. When they are kind to those whom they do not understand, they are the hands and heart of God in teaching others that all humans are not cruel.
To those who asked me to share this part of my life: thank you for asking. I do hope others will think before they judge how people behave. There is always a reason we do what we do. God loves His children, but not all His children, love children. Thank you for being one who does love God’s children.