January 21, 2010

Who needs teething tablets when you have Gladys?

Clover took a break tonight from her irritable/whinny/clingy/only wanting Momma – self to smile, wave and show off for a sweet 96 year old woman with Dementia (meaning "deprived of mind"). Dustin’s Mom helps take care of sweet Gladys in the evenings and brought her over to have dinner with us tonight. When she walked in the house, all four feet of her, called out “howdeee”! She tells people that she is Minnie Pearl. My heart swelled when Clover immediately cheered up when Gladys walked into the room, waving and smiling. It was like Clover could sense this woman’s love for children, as well as her loneliness and perhaps a little discomfort.

We start off as babies, so helpless and trusting – in need of constant care. As we get older, we become more independent, cynical, un-trusting. We learn to lie and “be polite” and not say exactly what we’re thinking. Our pureness disappears and we are replaced by the person we want to be. Gradually, as our bodies age and weaken, we start to regain that sense of helplessness and innocence that we once had as babies. We have to learn to trust again as the vulnerability sets in and the need for care once again emerges. Gladys doesn’t know what day it is, she doesn’t know who takes care of her, and she doesn’t know that she is constantly repeating herself (like 10 second Tom in 50 First Dates). She can’t remember what she ate for lunch and doesn’t understand why she can’t drive herself somewhere. But when Clover smiled at her and waved to her – she felt something. She asked me nine times how old Clover was; but she remembered that she liked my little girl.

Gladys doesn’t have any family left. She has two people that help take care of her, and she can’t remember them on a daily basis. How fearful to be so trustworthy of someone who is essentially a stranger to you. It was such a humbling experience and so refreshing to be with someone who thoroughly enjoyed being with us; who thoroughly loved my daughter. Because let me tell you, a 96 year old cannot lie about these things.

She had her pills sitting next to her glass at dinner and turned to Dustin’s Dad and said “Whose pills are these?” and Allan said “Well, I believe they’re yours”. To which she replied “Want to take them for me?”

1 comment:

  1. Jill - What a touching post....hmmmmmm....I'll take her pills anyday if I can live that long and look this great!