Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Hardest Part

I worked today. Back to caring for the elderly.

Oh, someone asked me the other day what I job do... um... well.. I do several. I teach. I work with the elderly. I write and edit. I do occasional office work. I cook at times. I really wasn't sure how to answer them. I think I simply am. Here I am - and I do what needs doing.

But I was at work today with the elderly. One of my patients is a sweet lady who is at times confused, but not always. She is almost completely blind, and as a result needs quite a bit of help. Today was her birthday, and her family had gathered. At the end of the evening, her son was telling her goodbye. She held his hand and happily talked about how wonderful it was here, how we always took such good care of her, and how she was so happy that they were leaving her here where she would be cared for. He took his time saying goodbye, and she kept telling him how happy she was to be in our home.

Then he finally walked away, and I stepped into his place to take her to her room. She looked towards her son's retreating back and sighed. Then she said, "Of the whole day, that was the hardest part right there."

My eyes filled up with tears. She is so lonely here. She misses her family so much. But her thoughts were with her son - making it easier for him to walk away. Taking his guilt away.

When he was out of sight, her body sagged with tiredness. "Can I go to bed right now? I've had a really long day."

We tucked her in early. It is true - we do take good care of her. But saying goodbye is still the hardest thing.

1 comment:

Alan & Beth McManus said...

This made me cry.

Just this morning I was talking with a friend who had to put his mom in a nursing home in Michigan. She has alzheimers and he and his wife live (and minister) in a dangerous area of Dallas, TX (not a good place for caring for an alzheimers patient). She still remembers him enough to call him "Sweet Heart," but it's hard visiting her and hard saying goodbye to her and hard not having his "old" Mom.