This morning I went to visit some clients at several facilities. Most are elderly folks in those places. After seeing a sweet client, a woman in a wheelchair in the hall grabbed my hand and asked if I would visit with her. She mumbled the words a bit incoherently. She said she never gets anyone to visit. She was a bit disoriented and asked if I would sit with her. I believe her name was Janet but she kind of stumbled through it under her breath. So I rolled her down to the nearest place to sit with her. We really just sat there. She didn’t say much but I took her hand and held it in mine. Her eyes looked up at me with tears. I felt the desire to cry with her but held it tightly in my chest. I rubbed her fragile hands against mine. She smiled, I smiled. She just wanted to be acknowledged. She didn’t need anything else but to feel wanted for a few minutes. Stories formulated in that instance as I envisioned her forty years younger, dancing and caring for others.
This is life at the frail moments of vulnerability. I tried to get going but she pulled me back down so I sat for a bit longer. I shared about the sun and how lovely the day was. I asked if she wanted to sit by the window. She nodded no. I told her it was a delightful surprise to meet her. She sobbed a little more. I got up from my chair and got on my knees to see her face. She is lovely. She is precious. I told her this while pulling her chin gently up so her eyes could meet mine. I needed her to feel the awareness of one soul to another meeting for the first time.
Even with dementia souls recognize one another. They are more keen to it because they don’t have all the other static thoughts. I don’t know her history. I don’t know who she is. That really doesn’t matter. What truly is of great importance is to cherish a moment with another who will see you, feel you, and know that you are being loved.
Today…tomorrow…whenever you can, give your soul a gift of truly sitting with a stranger and listen to a story or just hold their hand. I came out of there walking to the car, seeing the mountains in the distance and sobbed. I sobbed for her, for my client who is deteriorating, for all those who sit in wheelchairs or lie alone in a bed waiting for death to arrive. And, then just like that two dragonflies flew around me. Life and its magic. It’s truly a gift and privilege to be here for as long as I need to be. And I promise myself that if I can serve one person every day with kind words or a smile I will do it until I am no longer able to.