It was a favor really. Just to fill in for the usual lady who did Fridays. Would I sit with a lady in her 90’s who had extreme dementia amongst other issues for a morning? Sure, I could do that. I wasn’t to worry about her noisy breathing. She was comfortable and it didn’t mean she was in distress. It would be from 8am to 12.00.
It was a sunny morning, and I arrived as requested at 8am. I was greeted by a energetic and friendly lady who met me at the door and welcomed me into her home. “Let’s meet my Mom”. We went straight upstairs. I prepared myself.
We walked into a white room, with two windows ajar. A warm summer breeze moved through the room and lace curtains stirred. A radio gently played classical music. There was no anticipated odor. I took in an angelic scene.
A beautiful lady slept cocooned in white crisp linens covered in a soft blanket in a hospital bed in the middle of the room. Her shining gray hair brushed to one side. Her beautiful skin quite radiant. We were introduced although there was no reaction. She stroked her Mom’s head. “Mom, this is Caroline, she is going to be downstairs while I go to work this morning”.
And then the love story unfolded. This lady had been in this state for eight years. Looked after by her husband until he passed three years before. Then the daughter moved into the home and has been caring for her Mother full time for 3 years. Her Mom hasn’t uttered a word in those three years. But there had been a finger squeeze. Her eyes sometimes opened.
With not a glint of resentment, or exhaustion the lady told me about her routine of waking her mom, feeding her and changing her. She worked five mornings a week and with the help of hospice and a sitter her Mom was well cared for during these hours. “My Mom never wanted to go into a home. And I know this is the very best care she can get.” Not one bed sore in eight bedridden years….
I asked her what does she do for herself. “Myself? I’ve travelled, I’ve eaten in the best restaurants, I mean how many fancy meals can you eat? She told me that every time she brushed her Moms hair, every time she bathed her or gave her apple sauce it was a way she could absolutely give her Mom pure love….
I’ll never forget that morning. I’ve always felt that what life really comes down to is giving and receiving love….And as I go about my crazy days filled to the brim, this mother and daughter were living it right here and now. Down my street. Behind these doors. That morning I learned about and saw true love.