While I was the manager of one of our local stores, I met an amazing person, named Roy Turner. Roy is in his seventies and has a spirit of aliveness that is just incredible! He was working for the company through a senior citizen program, for disabled seniors. As Roy and I became friends and co-workers, he told me things about his life that astonished me. He had a real way of drawing pictures and making you laugh at the stories he told. They were not funny stories but Roy has found a way to laugh as he tells about his experiences.
One day while the two of us were stocking shelves Roy informs me that he was not always in as good a condition as he is today. My mouth dropped, as I looked at him astounded. His left arm remains at his side, and he swings his hips to walk. He moves slowly with a lot of effort, and he slurs his words just a little. I could not help but ask what he meant, as my mind was unable to wrap around the words. “I was not always in as good a condition as I am today.”
Roy had survived a serious heart attack ten year earlier that left him in a coma for several weeks. When he awakened from this unconsciousness, he was clueless and everything was brand new to him. He could not speak, walk or feed himself! Throughout a ten-year period, Roy had reeducated himself to do all of this and more. The funniest story he related was of his daughter trying to instruct him on how to drive again. We together burst out laughing, as he described the terror on her face every time he started the car.
This gentle man is a true inspiration to the community. He goes daily to the coffee shop to visit his friends and organizes breakfasts, at the senior center. Roy enjoys the horse races and travels across many miles to participate. The intelligence that he must have always had, remained. His deep love for leading an active life brought him into my life. The wonderful thing about Roy is that even though he had forgotten everything he knew he somehow still knew who he was. The heart always remembers!