Over two years ago I was assigned to a sweet man who didn’t speak, was mentally disabled and was dependent on others for care. I was given his case and a day later he was in ICU fighting for his life. I never got to see his eyes open. That last week of his life I would go see him every day. I would read to him as he was in a comatose state. I would touch his hands and his blood pressure would go up slightly letting me know he was aware of my presence. He was the first client I was assigned to in this new job. I will never forget the touch of his thinning skin underneath my hands, or the rapid eye movement under his lids, or the way his salt and pepper hair sat across his forehead. I will forever remember the way his soul was barely hanging to the body as it tried to leave. I wasn’t there when he transitioned but I felt him for days even though I never met him awake.
Today I lost my sweet 96 y/o. In a few days she would be 97. I saw her on Saturday and I begged her soul to finally leave. She did this afternoon. I will never ever forget the lessons this spitfire taught me. I will forever hold her up on some pedestal even when she scared my little girl during a Christmas party. (She took a hot sip of coffee and went to blow on it and her dentures went flying across the table. She began gently cursing while trying to feel for them on the table because she was blind). She was a hoot. And the stories she shared were priceless.
Each moment spent with someone is a gift. Whether it is their last or whether it is their entrance into this world, or into our lives. Elderly folks are the forgotten ones. I am always surprised at how few visitors they get in facilities. All they truly want is acknowledgment for their existence. And in return they will forever supply a little bit of love…and a whole lot of stories. Sometimes the stories are silent. Other times they are created by itsy bitsy memories. Either way, it is a privilege to tend to those legacies. And it is an honor to love them for who they are today.
I am so blessed to be able to witness humanity on every level. Thank you for being here!