Saturday, July 23, 2011

a love like mrs. ruth and mr. lewis

I've mentioned here before that I take an elderly family friend to see her husband in the VA nursing home twice a week. They pay me a  generous amount of money, and it allows me to continue taking June to therapy three times a week. It's a win-win for all parties.
Plus, I really enjoy my chats with Mrs. Ruth on Tuesdays & Thursdays. :)

Well, I've been paying attention to Mrs. Ruth lately. She's a wonderful woman of God and she LOVES to talk about her life. I love that she's chatty like that. :) I have been noticing the wistfulness in her voice when she talks about Mr. Lewis. She will say things like,
"We used to travel so much, but now that Lewis has lost his mind
(he has Alheizmers), that season of life is over."
 It makes me so sad for her, but at the same time
 I am so happy that she was able to experience so many years with someone she loves SO much!

I've been noticing lately that every Tuesday and Thursday, she brings him a treat. She double checks twice on the trip up there (it takes 45 minutes to drive one way). She has to make sure Mr. Lewis has his treats. She takes him a sucker each time and a brownie or cookie.
She goes in and spends about two hours with him. She eats lunch with him and visits.
When she comes out, she always thanks me for waiting and she aplogizes for taking so long.
I always tell her it's my pleasure.
I ask how he's doing.
Sometimes she will happily smile and say that he's having a good day,
he ate all of his supper, and they had a good visit.
Other days, I see the pain in her eyes as she looks down and says he's having a bad day.
He's ill, he didn't want to eat,
"I don't even think he knew I was there" she'll say.
Those days, my heart breaks for her.
Usually if he's had a bad day, she will reminiscence on the trip home.
She'll tell me how Lewis was such an intelligent man in his youth.
They raised two beautiful children, he owned his own barber shop
and then he taught barber school at a local college.

"I just never imagined it would be like this.
 I never thought he would be in this condition when we were younger.
This is not anything like what I had pictured our last years to be like."

Those days, I hide my tears. I encourage her. I say things like,
"Hopefully next time will be better."
"I'm sure he loved his sucker."
"Did he like his cookie/brownie/pie/etc?"

But I can't say what I REALLY want to say.
What I really want to do is cry and say how unfair life is.
Then she'll say, "If I had known it would be like this, I would have cherished him more."

And that, my hits home every single time.
Alheizmers is a horrible, ugly disease (this I know because it took my Grandma)
but the truth is -- you never know what could happen in the future.

Cherish what you have because you just don't know
what tomorrow holds.


Lora said...

my goodness, you brought tears to my eyes with this one. beautifully written. makes me think (a LOT) of anthony's grandparents. precious people.

Danielle said...

Crying! Thank you for the reminder, Stephanie. Alzheimers is such an awful, awful disease.