On Friday, February 26, 2021, Hubby and I experienced a few sweet seconds to cherish for a lifetime.
In a moment of clarity, Shelley, our daughter with dementia, clasped her hands in prayer mode. She said, "I want to tell y'all something. I really appreciate y'all taking care of me, and I love you."
Her sensible sentences are rare these days. I think she understands more than she can express. She says, "I love you" over and over when we see her. And we see that as true in her eyes.
I sing to her, "You Are My Sunshine" and she joins me. Her words aren't always there, but she can carry a tune. Once, we could harmonize together, but not these days.
She has no idea how much time and emotional effort goes into taking care of her. And that's okay. Once a mom and dad, always a mom and dad, at least it is so with us. I suppose some people are not as fortunate as Shelley. Not all parents, (or children) continue to love and support a loved one with a disease.
In her former facility, the director told me how a resident had died. She tried calling the son for three months to tell him his mother had passed away. He never answered. He finally called one day to check on her and heard the news.
Shelley has family and friends who no longer want to see her. They think it's scary to visit with her. It isn't scary, it is sad, but life requires us to do what we sometimes don't want to do. Go where we don't want to go. Sacrifice.
There are residents living in her present facility who seldom have visitors. Can you imagine how these homes might be if no visitors ever darkened the doors? I fear abuse would be rampant. Neglect is abuse. Too many times, I see a few aides sitting and doing nothing. When a visitor arrives, they hop up to do their job. However, many are caring and loving to the residents. I thank and compliment them, and I'm sincere. Just like us, they need encouragement.
I once visited nursing homes to play hymns for the folks. I'd go in unannounced (before the pandemic) and play. I don't play all that well, but they don't care. They love the attention. My dad lived in one after a stroke, and I enjoyed playing for him and them. Every time I visited, the folks would see me and beg me to play for them.
I never dreamed I'd have a daughter in one.
These dear ones with dementia may not remember a visit from a loved one, but they cherish the moments a visitor spends with them. It brings one joy to brighten the lives, even if it is temporary for them.
Drop in a facility and visit a friend or loved one. They need it, and so do you.
Both of you will cherish the moments.
Family is important.