I was almost ready for work this morning when the phone rang. On the other end was Tammy from the agency that hired me to do home care. It seems there are a few more hours available with the woman I care for, on the days I'm already there. They wanted to offer those six hours (3 each day) to me before finding other staff to fill in. It means working until 7:30 pm four days each week. I told them I would be willing to cover this week's extra hours and check with my husband to decide whether or not to commit to every week.
A few minutes after I hung up, the phone rang again. On the other end were Tammy and Sue from the home care agency. It seems they have a new client who lives about 7 minutes from my house. She needs someone from noon until 4 pm on Thursdays. Would I like to work with her? Four hours a week, less than ten minutes away... "Yes," I said, "I think I can do that." (I think pretty soon my husband will wonder when I'm NOT going to be doing something...)
I had to smile at work this evening. Quite honestly, I wish I'd had a camera in hand, but the only one available was in my mind. Two, slightly stooped, gray haired old women, memory care patients, stood shoulder to shoulder in front of the television set with silly smiles on their faces. What was amusing them? Gilligan's Island. It was too cute. And then there was my own friend who leaned over toward me at one point and said, "Look at the size of that woman!" Since my friend is blind, I decided to play along. "Is she big?" I asked, and she said with slight exasperation. "Is she big?!" "How big is she?" I inquired. She made a gesture forward and said, "Well, you can see the back of her right there."
Memory care is an interesting place, sad in so many ways, but it's been encouraging to see how tenderly so much of the staff treats these precious people. Many have been robbed of not only their memories, but their ability to communicate. They are still looking for words of encouragement and tender, loving touches. I pray I can make my mom proud of what she taught me in the three years she spent with me, even if I fell so far short of giving her what she so needed and deserved.