One day my mom introduced me to a nice lady who had not spoken in over a month. No one knows why the nice lady didn’t speak. Maybe she had a stroke, or maybe she had problems with her liver. Maybe she didn’t feel like talking anymore. My mom says there are lots of reasons but that it’s important to keep talking to people even when they don’t say anything in return. You never know when they are listening. My mom asked the nice lady how she was feeling today. The nice lady didn’t answer or look in my mom’s direction. That didn’t discourage my mom, who kept on talking anyway.
When I climbed onto the nice lady’s bed, she looked at me, really looked at me. Even though her head didn’t move, I could tell she saw me because she opened her eyes a little wider and her eyebrows went up, as if she were happy to see me. Then she reached out her hand towards me. She had hardly moved at all in the last month so she was kind of rusty. To help her out I snuggled closer to her chest and put my head right under her palm. After a few moments she managed to place her hand on my head. She stroked me gently around my ears and on my cheek. Her lips moved. She opened and closed her mouth a few times, struggling to speak. Finally a word emerged, very faintly. “Baby.” I assumed she was talking to me since I was the only baby in the room. My mom and the other doctors were amazed by the nice lady’s actions, as if she had been frozen for the last month and was finally thawing out. I wasn’t surprised though. I knew the nice lady could hear me and see me and feel me.
Over the next few weeks the nice lady continued to improve. Then she seemed to get worse so a nurse asked my mom to bring me for a visit. As soon as the nice lady saw me, she mouthed the word “Baby.” The nice lady remembered me, of course, just as I remembered her. Her hand was clenched in a fist that she couldn’t seem to open but she rubbed her knuckle along my ear. Sometimes it takes a word, sometimes just a touch, to connect to people. You don’t have to do anything special. Even if you’re not cute and furry like me, you can still connect with people by being present. Just be there, really be there.