Can I stay with you a while
‘Cause this road’s been putting miles on my heart, sweetheart…
But one day lightning will strike
And my bark will lose its bite
But don’t give up on me,
From Sweet Annie by Zac Brown Band
An occupational hazard of my job is that the people I see every day are more likely to die than a lot of the rest of the population. Today was a first for me: the first time a resident died since I began working there. It was entirely unexpected. One minute, she was on the phone, and the next, gone.
I love my residents. I love the blind man who sits in the hall and makes silly little comments during bingo or Jeopardy. I love the smart-assed little ladies who make slightly inappropriate jokes when they think no one is listening. I love the old eastern European woman who smiles all day.
Selfishly, I love that I work with a bunch of people who cheer me up and cheer me on. They compliment me on a good hair day, ask about my dad when he is sick, and occasionally tell me I’m doing a good job. Who wouldn’t love that? I love when I have a free handful of minutes and can sit and talk with them. They are good for my soul.
Like most old people, they love to talk. They don’t know it, but they are a constant reminder for me to check my perspective. They remind me to take the time to do the things I love and see the people I love. They remind me to be happy. When I am weary, they are a place to rest.
They also remind me that life is fragile. When my funny Polish lady is missing from morning activities and I stop in and find her weak and resting, sore from a poor, sleepless night, I can’t help but worry a little. Another woman scrunches up her face and looks at me with an odd expression as she pushes a walker that she didn’t need until she had a “small stroke” a couple weeks ago, making my heart break a little.
And then there are those like A, who went so suddenly today. She is my reminder to smile while I still can, and to try to leave a gentle impression.
Posted on August 26, 2015, in Friendship, Relationships, Work and tagged Activity Director, Assisted Living, Death, Older Adults, Perspective, Senior Citizens, Seniors. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.