Impact Feature Issue on Stories of Advocacy, Stories of Change from People with Disabilities, Their Families, and Allies (1988-2013)
A House Filled with Love (Part 2, 2013)
Today, Stacy and Druanne continue to live in their own home with support. In the article below, Bob Lockwood shares more of the story of how his family has sustained that living arrangement for over 25 years.
The first thing to be said in follow up to the 1990 article is that Stacy and Dru are still living in their own house with their housemates. And are happy and enjoying their life there. There are many happenings in the past 25 years that have been made much easier by their having their own home. Some happenings were not pleasant.
The second company managing the house operated with an older person living in the house to oversee the operation. This led to conflicts over the way in which the house was being run and the environment the girls were living in. In the spring of 1993 this company decided to move all the persons living there into a new home that they bought. This included Stacy and Dru. We, of course, objected and ended up taking Stacy and Dru to live with us for the summer. This turned out to be a blessing as the city of St. Anthony, where they live, tore up the street in front of the house to replace the infrastructure. It would have been impossible for the women to be able to get into and out of the house during that time. In the fall of 1993 we moved back into the house to live with Stacy and Dru until a new management company could be found.
In the summer of 1994 a new company and two new housemates were found. This company operated on the model of a shift staff with a coordinator in charge. In spite of some constant turnover of staff the girls did well in this environment. This company is still managing the house.
Their mother was diagnosed with cancer in 1995 and through 5+ years of treatment the girls were well taken care of by the caregivers at their house when we were not able to have our normal involvement with them because of her treatments. After their mother died the staff was a great help to me in taking care of Stacy and Dru. While I was on a trip to California Dru began to seizure and was hospitalized. The house staff was wonderful in staying with her round the clock till she was discharged. Three years ago Dru fell and broke her leg and was laid up for six weeks. The house staff was able to provide 24/7 care for her. And when I had some medical problems that restricted my ability to be with the girls, again the staff was a great help in keeping them cared for and happy.
At one point, one of the housemates became ill and had to leave the house. This imposed a financial burden on the operation of the house and there was concern about being able to continue with the program with only three women living there. A new housemate who had a record of behavior problems was found and moved in. The staff was able to work with her in a loving manner and she became a normal functioning part of the “family.” Unfortunately, after a short time she was diagnosed with cancer and was able to live in the house for only two more years. The last few months the staff was able to care for her with the assistance of hospice. As I am writing this, she died in her house in her own bed with the house staff providing loving, good care. This kind of loving care is something we can continue to look forward to for Stacy and Dru.
Six years ago my sister, “Aunt Sally,” came to live with me and is a great help in caring for Stacy and Dru. There are no guarantees that funding or licensing will always be there for the girls to continue living in their house. However, provisions have been made to continue the ownership and maintenance of the house for them to live in if I should no longer be able to be involved in their care.
Years ago I read a book entitled, A House Is Not a Home. That is very true. However, a house filled with love is a home for those living in it. We hesitate calling the house of Stacy and Dru and their housemates a group home because that doesn’t sound personal. We prefer to refer to it as, “REM St. Anthony, the house where Stacy, Dru, Jane and Julie live.” We look forward to many more years of Stacy and Dru living in their own house.