My Hero Essay by Miss Lucy D
I’ve heard it said that the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others, and my older sister would completely agree. I was only five years old, and she was only seven when she told my parents, “I want to learn sign language.” According to them, she was so adamant that they enrolled her in a local class a mere week later, and she began to learn at a rapid rate, as if she were born already knowing American sign language. I like to think that she was not born knowing it, but born to do it. This passion of hers has taken her far and wide. She has always been a homebody, but no local colleges offered degrees in sign language, so she traveled across the country to continue signing.
Right after she finished her bachelor’s degree, she received a call from a nursing home in that area, asking her if she would be willing to work in the dementia unit for a year. Three women in that unit were deaf or hard of hearing, and all three had adopted some form of sign language, but none of their family members had. My sister Lydia agreed to be their voice. It was hard work, for the women’s memories were failing them, and my sister often had to tell them where their family members were fifty or sixty times a day, and they would ask again the next day. Each of these women died within that one year Lydia was at the nursing home, and she was heartbroken, for they had become so precious to her. I remember leaving one of my college classes two years ago because Lydia had texted me, saying, “Lucy, can I talk to you right now? I just lost one of my best friends.” I was thinking that she had lost one of her friends from high school or college, but it was one of those three ladies with dementia. I’ve never met anyone who loves everyone as much as my sister Lydia does. Her patients were not people she was getting money to work for – they were her friends, and even though none of them could even remember her name, she adored them.
Today, Lydia is living near home again, where she works as a translator in an emergency room. She experiences death, tears, and heartbreak almost every week that she spends there, but this doesn’t stop her from translating, nor does it stop her from loving. She lavishes love on her patients the moment they come into the emergency room until they leave, whether from recovery or loss of life, and even then, she still locks up loving memories of them in her heart.