I worked at the nursing home this weekend. I have taken some time off for various reasons and have genuinely missed being around those beautiful people. I’ve missed the staff as much as the residents.
I’ve written before about the married couples that reside here and I feel we are fortunate that we have the opportunity to be part of their lives. There’s something special about sitting with them. Once the door shuts you are sitting in their living room. There are various pieces of artwork, recliners, little refrigerators and pictures. Lots of pictures.
They talk about their relationship with gentle banter playing off each other. We have had couples that have been married for as long as 76 years. When one of the spouses begin to decline you will witness a part of the human experience and journey that few people are blessed to see or be a part of.
The remaining spouse, be it male or female, becomes the caregiver. They want to feed their mate.. Take them the bathroom. Wipe their brow and give them comfort rarely leaving their side. When their mate dies the remaining survivor usually must find new purpose. They often maintain the same routine that they shared with their mate. Whether it was playing bingo or a glass of wine in the evening or just sitting outside at the same time everyday.
So Saturday as I was pulling in to work I saw one of the residents outside. She had recently lost her husband. Every morning she and her husband would sit outside in the sun. This morning she was sitting outside in the sun with her hands in her lap, her head slightly tilted back, sunglasses on and just a faint smile on her face.
I don’t know what she was thinking but I know I thought ” she looks like a bird on a wire…” Some humans mate for life.