It was Sunday and a beautiful fall day. When I arrived at Jerry’s place, I could see him in the main room where most of the residents “rest” watching tv. They were watching Andy Griffith. I could see Jerry actually leaning forward and looking up, as if he was actually watching good ole Andy. Some of the other residents expect their greeting hug when I walk in the room. A squeeze makes their day. Jerry didn’t exactly know who I was at first. However, I took him by the hand and walked him down the hall to his room. When I got there I noticed that there was a new bed, pictures on the wall, another lounge chair and a BIG tv. He had a new roommate.
It was exciting. It looked like his new roomie might be a good match. Jerry and I walked on out to the front porch where I had noticed a group of folks sitting in rocking chairs. What a beautiful family! His new roomie, I’ll call him Roy, was sitting in a wheel chair next to his endearing daughter and her husband. I could see the angst of this new transition by the red rimmed eyes. But, we all stayed upbeat, talked about the country western band that comes once a month, and how Roy loves old movies. I could see how Roy was trying to be brave......his face would begin to reveal his cry..... he wanted to go home. I’ve seen that face before...many times. Yet, he knew he had to be brave for his family’s sake. He was. Jerry still is.
Jerry’s doggie, Montana, was waiting in the back of the car so we ventured over to give her a pat on the head. The cool fall day made it possible for her to come for her doggie visit. By this time, Jerry knew who we both were. (I think.) I put the leash around Jerry’s wrist and threaded it through her legs so she wouldn’t pull him and off we went to circle the parking lot. As long as Jerry is able, we’ll go for a “tour” around the area. (This photo above was taken 4 years ago.) Fresh air and outdoors is in short supply when you are in a locked memory care unit. Not that they don’t do the their best to keep the resident’s active and get them out....still, it’s not the same as being able to get out whenever you want. None of these alzheimer patients are able to do anything without assistance. The residents up front in the assisted living section are able to sit out front whenever they want. And they do!
Back at the unit, Roy was taking a nap, and the each family member was saying their goodbyes. Sons, daughters, in-laws, and his granddaughter came out one by one. All greeted Jerry with empathy and infectious smiles. Jerry’s face lit up with a smile as if he belonged to them. For them, it was a heavy hearted day but in their heavy hearted ness, they were able to be uplifting. We’ll be in this together for a long time. New friends. A new roomie. A gold nugget !