“Hi, my name is Jo-Dana Fio-wini”•
Posted on May 26 2019
From when Jordana first started speaking, she had a very pronounced lisp. Luciano and I were so concerned that it would stay with her and wanted to address it early through speech therapy.
The truth is, it never really got better. She was a very good student and I would always address it with her teachers “Is this normal?” “Can this be fixed?” “Does anyone make fun of her?” All of them would look at me puzzled. The replies were often, “Mrs. Fiorini, Jordi is our joy in class”, “your daughter is so happy and confident”, “Jordi helps the girl with the leg cast by carrying her books and staying indoors at recess”, “Jordi encourages people when they are down”, “Jordi is our little science researcher, she sits in the quiet corner with a book any chance she gets”. Of course this made me so proud but while all this was great, “Mrs. ...how about her lisp?” I don’t think I stand alone when I say I want my kids to live to their highest potential, but this one is a gut punch. I wasn’t wrong to want Jordana to stop pronouncing corn “ka-own” and maybe even pronounce her own last name Fiorini by properly rolling her r’s, but now I’d give anything to hear “Hi, my name is “Jo-Dana Fio-wini”.
When she was diagnosed with a brain stem tumour the most insane thoughts ran through my mind. Was the heavy lisp - and the fact it was not correcting - a sign that something wasn’t right? One of my many uneducated and unsubstantiated theories, but the truth is, even as I write this and as many doctors have told me no, I will always wonder.
Jordana had two therapists at two different times, one came to the home and her name was Carm Viola. Jordana loved Carm so much. Carm, or as lovingly pronounced by Jordana “Ca-om”, would make her visits so exciting. Carm ended every session with a treat and one of her favourite “stuffies” (what Jordana would call her stuffed animals) was a gift from Carm.
Carm wrote a beautiful entry this week about her experience with Jordana. I really am in awe of this kindness and I can’t wait to share it with you. Carm, thank you for loving Jordana. These chronicles will continue to be a place that we share stories from the heart, and I love how it has enticed people to share a piece of theirs. You know the deal folks, my mandate doesn’t change - love is eternal, love heals and love is the only thing that is real - and the chronicles are our home to share all of it.
As I sit to write this story I’m reminded of how Jordana touched my life.
She was my first appointment of the day. I arrive at the Fiorini home to be greeted in Jordana style with the warmest smile, greatest hug, while she leaped into my arms, saying, “I was waiting for you Carm, come on let’s go.”
I was brought into Jordana’s life to help her improve her speech. She needed some assistance in producing certain sounds. Make no mistake she was never at a loss for sharing her ideas, stories, asking me how I could teach her so in turn she could help her brother or my favourite inform me of what to do during therapy.
My sessions with Jordi were always full of laughter and surprises. She was vivacious, zealous and always ready to tackle the next step. On many occasions she asked, “Can we just dance?” Her smile and laughter were contagious. I often wondered if Alison heard us laughing and was she thinking, what are they doing? Are they getting anything done?
Although, lesson plans were prepared, Jordi led the sessions. She would state: “First let’s do a craft, read then can we play the ice cream game. It was a simple stacking activity with a cone base and various coloured toppings. Jordi found 101 ways to use it. I could not figure out why she loved it so much. She would ask me weekly, “Did you bring the ice cream, game.” I recently realized, as Alison and I were writing back and forth to one another, she likely loved it so much because of the rainbow colours. It became a staple for our sessions. Jordi’s creativity never allowed for boredom. When it was time for me to leave she would say, “Make sure you bring the ice cream game next week. We are going to do something else with it.” My sessions with Jordi never felt like work. She taught me to let go of structure; just play, be silly, laugh and all would be accomplished.
It was my sincere privilege to have had a very small part in Jordi’s life. She is a ray of light. Her creativity and LOVE continue to shine through all Alison, Luciano, Lucas and Laurence do. She forever remains in my heart.
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