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Humans of Millbury: Kyleigh

My grandfather, his dad had a business called Plante Burial Vaults.  Then it ended up becoming his.  They worked a lot with Mulhane Funeral Home and they had a little garage over by where the river flows on Maple Street.  They had a whole garage there and I have a lot of memories there. Forklifts and all that stuff. I remember this specific one.  I wrote a poem about it.  It's called “The Pink Casket.” My grandfather painted this casket a beautiful pink and I remember thinking “Oh! I didn’t know you could do that!” I remember him saying “I’m painting this for a queen.”  Obviously he wasn’t, but I was a little kid, so I thought to myself “No way!  I’m gonna have a pink casket!”  I was thinking about that at eight years old.  That’s my connection to the cemetery and this bridge, because of the business.  We have a family picture of all of us standing on the bridge with the plaque.  We were super proud about that.  When he passed away, they sold the business but my dad still works for the guy who owns it. 

My grandfather is why I wanted to do this.  I want to keep his memory alive.  It's been eleven years since he passed away.  He would be here doing this himself if he were still around.  He was just that kind of guy.  All for Millbury.  All for this town.  and I just want him to know that I’m still thinking about him all the time and all the things he did for the town.  He was lieutenant of the fire department, he fought in the Vietnam War, he was part of a motorcycle club.  He was just a huge part of the community.  

Right now I have my fiance and my son, he’s two years old.  And they are my everything. My family is everything.  I still have Sunday dinners with my grandparents.  I refuse to let it be missed. It's with my uncle and his son.  We all get together every Sunday.  We’re just very tightly knit. And I have three cats. I’m a super cat lady.

When I tell people what I do, I say speech therapy, and I don’t think they truly ever understand what it is.  I honestly like to tell people that I teach kids to talk back.  I’m teaching kids to stand up for themselves. I’m teaching kids how to hold a conversation with somebody.  I’m teaching kids to advocate for themselves.  Sometimes it's literally teaching kids how to say sounds, how to use their mouths to say a certain sound. 

I work with a lot of kids with autism and that’s like, my jam!  They don’t have the resources to self advocate and that’s how I can help.  I also like shaping kids to accept one another and realize they’re not weird, they’re just different.  People like to put a label on a kid and think of them that way forever and I try to teach all my kiddos that it's a tool.  It doesn’t define who they are.

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