Farewell to the Poppies *5 February, 2019
Saturday, December 22, 2018
The last days were quite emotional. Gradually comes the realization that I leave a lot of people with whom I have built up a friendship bond for the last year and a half. And that in fact in a quite relatively short period. I could never imagine beforehand that a change in working environment could have a totally unexpected positive impact on my life, on my outlook on things, on my whole experience.
I only feel warmth when I think back to the Poppy, to its residents, to its companions. They are a source of inspiration for me, of immense respect for the individuality of every person.
A confirmation of what I have known for years, and of what is so cliché. Beauty is deep inside, you only have to dare to open up to see them. What a relief to be who you are, with all your flaws and imperfections, with your weaknesses. But especially with all your talents and strengths. To grow as a person, to be embraced in childlike innocence.
The ‘poppies’ have taught me so much. Authenticity, individuality, gratitude, joy, simplicity …
The laughter on Tommeke’s face stays with me forever, Nicky’s enjoying ‘squeak’ Jonas’s naughtiness, the ‘hey fartpot’ of Sunny, the ‘I slept well’ Gerda’s welcome, Erwin’s warm hug on arrival at work, the delicious coffee from Kathleen, the music by DJ Kim, …. Too many to mention, all wonderful beautiful people. I am so grateful that I had the opportunity to experience this.
But I will also remember the warm group of colleagues. Always ready for a joke, a game of sieving, a serious chat. The way in which people are treated here is one of pure respect for the ‘weak’ among us. But actually I would rather call them the ‘strong’ among us. Because the fight they have to deliver every day is not always fair. And yet be happy … Respect.
Respect also for the parents and family of our guests. It should not be easy to give the cares of your child with a severe disability to others.
Monday was a wonderful day when I was invited to officially say goodbye together with the residents and colleagues. As always when a party is celebrated in the Poppy, the tables are put together in the main hall, music is set up, good food is served. Yes, even the director stood outside to bake hamburgers. All that just for me! How blessed is that! All together singing loud and false ‘happy friends’ … The wonderful chaos creates a cozy hustle and bustle and family atmosphere. Shit, how hard will I miss all this. But above all I will remember with gratitude. Fortunately, I have a wonderful memory in our ‘poetry album’ where some of the colleagues wrote down and signed beautiful anecdotes and thoughts with the help of the residents.
Two more days to work, and then I close the doors of The Poppy and I open the doors to a new chapter in my life. Every day this week I had to say goodbye to a few colleagues, and that will unfortunately be the same the next two working days.
But, I will be back. When we come back to the cool Flanders, I will definitely stop by the Poppies. Whether they like it or not !
HASTA LA VISTA !
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* vzw De Klaproos (The Poppy) is a facility for people with multiple disabilities