I had the most heartwarming conversation with a lady who suffers with Vascular Dementia. She is very resentful and bitter because she has spent her whole life caring for others, and has worked hard to have a debt free home, and now has been court ordered to stay in a secured community.
She was found sleeping in her car in an antiques mall parking lot late at night, her license was taken from her, and she has no memory to help her understand why she needs a secured community.
She tells me she worked for a phone company in marketing and used to drive staff to training in neighboring towns. She states she has never even put a scratch on a car! She says she went to Presbyterian Church and never missed a Sunday! She cared for her first husband as he died from cancer. She cared for her second husband as he died from Alzheimer’s. She cared for her daughter as she died from a bug bite after returning from a high school trip overseas. She raised three successful, professional sons.
My wisdom for her is no different than for you or me. “You’ve done so many wonderful things in your life, but what are you doing today? I don’t know why you are here, but I know there are no accidents. You are here for a reason, someone here needs you, perhaps you are here to teach me something.”
She hopes to be released at a six month assessment. I tell her…”if you get kicked out in six months, I want to be there to give you the boot!” She says I better make it a tall boot! I tell her, “but….if you are kicked out in six months, I wouldn’t want your time here to have been for naught.” You see, I am trying to help her find a new purpose for her life, and acceptance of a situation she has no control over. I do not want her to spend her days bitter, on her sofa. I want to see her living today, laughing, not dying today.
Are you going to live today or are you going to die today?…the only true decision there ever is…which one will you run with? We have this conversation daily as she doesn’t remember from one day to the next. I tell her I don’t know what the judge will decide in six months, but it helps me in these situations to remember I only have to do my best, do the next right thing. I tell her we are only responsible for doing the next right thing, outcomes are Gods department.
She tells me this morning…”today I shared the breakfast table with the new lady…and she ate all her breakfast, and smiled and thanked me. It made it all worth it…to see her smile!” Her deep faith seems to have helped. Then she smiled and thanked me for my advice. I smiled and thought…your smile and thank you make it all worth it.