This afternoon I went to visit my elderly client. His dementia today had him a bit feisty. He was not nice…at all. The nurses warned me but I don’t see that…I see the challenge of reminding these folks what’s important.
I got on my knees to meet his eyes while he sat in his wheelchair. I asked him, “Darling, where’s the love?”
He grunted, “Gone!”
“Hmmmm. Okay. I will sit here and wait for it to return.” I got up and sat on the chair next to him. He looked at me grunting. I smiled. I let him look into my eyes cause somewhere in him I knew his soul needed some loving today.
“Whatcha doing here?” He asked under his breath.
“I came to visit you. Wanted to make sure you are alright. I don’t see you doing alright today. But, that’s okay.”
“I ain’t. I’m tired.”
“Okay, I will stay here until your love returns. I got time. I’m gonna show you a trick (I giggled). You are gonna like this.” I opened his right hand up to show me his palm. He stared down at me attentively.
“Now look. See my empty hand? It’s now in yours holding my love for you to take.”
He didn’t grunt. He didn’t pull away. He sat there allowing me to hold his big elderly hand in mine. He squeezed it tightly. His demeanor changed. His blank expression turned into a memory.
“You look good today.” He said while making sure he was looking into my eyes. So I went down again to meet him on the floor.
“There’s the love. Thank you. I knew it would return.” I asked for a giant smile and he forced it.
I told him, “I’m coming back next week to be your Christmas party date. I’m so excited.”
He grunted. I squeezed his hand reminding him the love was still in there holding mine. He shook his head and smiled…authentically…wholeheartedly.
And for the rest of the visit we sat face to face in silence. He looked tired. He is tired. He’s been fighting this life for so long. But, he has so much fight still left in him, and every time I see him I will remind him that the love is right there between my hand and his.
For a few moments he will remember…his spirit will alert him and we will hold love ever so tightly.