Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Final departures.....

I went on a job interview the other day and this family of men had all gathered to find care for their mother, girlfriend, housemate.....she has Alzheimers and I asked her if she would mind having me come a time or two each week to help her around the house. She needs help showering but that is something we are going to work into as she is resistant to the mere idea that she needs help. I am all about building a relationship, fostering trust, etc. She agreed to have me come.

Later the son and I were looking around the house seeing their shower set-up and he said, "She let you get away with that, when you were patronizing her, she let you get away with that." He told me its better if I "play with her verbally." If she gives you a hard time, give it right back. Have a quick comeback.

I thought I was being respectful asking permission to enter into her domain....its her home. My other thought is that my personality is to say what I mean and mean what I say. I am not particularly good at verbal jousting. I am wondering if this is going to be the right place for me. I am wondering if I am simply too burned out to take on another challenging client.

On the other hand, I spent the weekend with my most precious client as she works to leave this earth. I need to talk about her a bit as I truly have grown to love she and her husband over the years. She has a strong Catholic faith and she is not afraid to leave but will miss her family who she loves so much. She and her husband have been married 67 years, friends and neighbors for 75 years! They are both 86. That is a lifetime and I worry about HIM once she goes. Once I commented that he needed to make sure and have breaks and take good care of himself as her care was becoming more involved as her Alzheimers disease progressed. He told of coming home from WWII with malaria and being so sick for over a year and she sweetly and patiently nursed him back to health. He felt that now it was his turn to take care of her. They lost a son at one point, they have shared wealth and poverty, ministries with the broken hearted, and much more that I am unaware of I am sure.

Often before death there is a burst of energy and I was thinking of how God, as always, has a perfect plan....during this burst of energy messages of love and forgiveness are often shared, reassurances that all is well....it is often a blessing for those who are left behind. That has been the case here....my little friend shared that she was so happy and filled with joy. Each person that came to her bed, she told them that she loved them and that everything was perfect. She would be seeing Jesus soon. She was able to give each person a blessing before she leaves. A reassurance of her love for them and that she is ok.

I will miss this sweet woman. Each week when I came to see her she greeted me by saying, "Ohhh my beautiful angel is here." She hugged me, kissed me on the cheek, prayed blessings over me, told me I am beautiful, thanked me for anything I did, and reminded me often that its through God's grace that we can do anything. She is one client who I felt would live forever. She has been healthy despite her Alzheimers. Everyone should get to experience this type of adoration at least once in their life....from a parent, a grand parent, a favorite auntie....or a little old lady client who God places in your life. I always felt that I was receiving far more than I was giving there.

Ok, on to a new day!
Bless y'all,


Grace-WorkinProgress said...

It is good to know that people can be kind and generous with affection even until the end.

When my aunt was house was ill and house bound I wished that she could have taken the opportunity to make amends to her immediate family.

Only myself and her caregiver attended the funeral. It thought this is the way not to live your life.

beachteacher said...

What a blessing you've been to her & her family ! I agree- those parting last words- when loving, are such a gift to those left behind. Today is my father in law's b-day, who we lost last July. He was an incredibly wonderful man - and truly my 2nd Dad. His last words to me were, "remember- I want you to know you're a gem." Believe me - HE was the gem,...but those last words to me continue to be such a gift.

Signe said...

What a wonderful read, Annette, even the interaction with the son concerning 'jousting' with his mom, but especially your experience with your angel. I'm sorry for her passing, but so happy that you were able to experience her gentle touch so personally. Such good nurishment for your soul.

Pammie said...

I've already drawn up the papers for my family to go find you when my time comes. Beware though, the gulf coast humidity will curl your hair up like a perm done at the kitchen table!
PS: bee-na

mary christine said...

OK, fair's fair. You suggested something to me yesterday, so I will suggest something to you today:

Run for your life away from the situation with the son!!! If he thinks treating someone with respect is "patronizing," it is a bad sign.

SoberMomWrites said...

Annette - I've wanted to say this many times and if I've said it before then you'll have to induldge me again...

You and people like you who so kindly and lovingly help usher others from this world to the next with kindness, respect and dignity are angels. True treasures that don't often get enough thanks.

So here I am saying it - thank you.


Syd said...

It's a good thing that you do. And the little lady who is near death--what a great attitude.
I think that the word patronizing is a little harsh with regard to what you said to the new client. You are respectful of others. That's a good thing. I tend to be too blunt. Thank you for reminding me that there are better ways to say things.

Tori said...

I always love your posts Annette. The day that my Aunt passed away was so surprising because when I brought her lunch she was laughing and smiling and eating! The only thing that made her mad was they wanted her to take a shower and they had set up a time for me to be there the next morning so she would know that no one was watching her. She died that night just hours after I left and I thought shit it was because of the shower I never should have agreed that she had to take one! Silly I know that I felt that way because in reality she was ready to go and reading how they have that burst of energy just confirmed it. Thank you