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Lights on the Journey: Mike, Osamu, and John

Liz and Osamu (left) John and Mike (right)

Liz and Osamu (left) | John and Mike (right)

Mike and I don’t talk a lot, but we have a good connection. When Mike wants to go somewhere, I push his wheelchair; when he is not feeling well, I take him to the doctor; when he has a great time, we can get crazy together. I know Mike and he knows me – we spend time together every day at the Day Program.

The connection between us didn’t happen overnight. When I started at the Day Program seven years ago, I didn’t know Mike. John DeLazzari was my first teacher for communicating with Michael, to go further than just meeting his physical needs, to see a person, a friend…

John had a very gentle, calm way of being with Michael, always including him in decision-making. He became my mentor in a way that encouraged me to build my relationships with Mike and with every other core member. We shared lots of good moments at community dinners, Spirit Movers performances and even dog sledding with Mike. We did lots of amazing things because John found a capacity where others could see only limitations.

John passed away this fall, and even though he won`t dance with us any more, his spirit will lead us when we dance as Spirit Movers, when we go dog sledding, and in our daily life together.

~ Osamu Shinya with Michael Barrett. Osamu is the Day Program Leader and has been at L’Arche Daybreak for over 12 years. Michael has lived at the New House for 25 years. Osamu and Michael were close friends of John DeLazzari who was a proud member of Daybreak, a Spirit Mover (dancer) and a community builder.

Advent at L’Arche Daybreak 2013: Light for the Journey
While Advent is a Christian tradition it has also become a community tradition at Daybreak for people of all faiths as well as for people with no particular faith tradition. For us, it is a time of reflection, story-telling, and ritual.