- GRIEF SUPPORT
- EVENTS & RESOURCES
- PATIENT REFERRALS
I could feel my face redden as I struggled to read the explicit, steamy passage out loud. I looked up to see Diane* watching me with a smile spreading on her face and a twinkle in her eye, deviously enjoying my discomfort. As our eyes met, we first started giggling then broke out into teary laughs. I had been visiting with Diane for a few months and discovered we both enjoyed reading mystery novels. I got into the habit of reading chapters of our latest novel to her every week, and I think she particularly enjoyed those occasional times when she could watch me blush when I read those spicy romantic sections.
When COVID struck, I continued reading to her, although only over the phone, for about two years. (Of course, she couldn’t see me blush over the phone, and probably couldn’t tell that I occasionally skipped reading a few of the spiciest descriptions!) During this time, I was happy to see Diane “graduate” from hospice as her health improved. Later, she experienced a tough illness and she resumed hospice care. We continued our weekly sessions and stayed close throughout it all. I feel very proud to have provided her some companionship and laughter during this part of her life.
Each client I have visited with was rewarding to me in different ways. Roger* was a world class scientist who loved to talk about scientific breakthroughs, particularly regarding nuclear physics and astronomy. Over six months together, I learned so much about his amazing life story and the recent science history that he was part of. I think it gave him joy to share his stories with me, and I certainly enjoyed listening to them.
Bright was a beautiful woman who lived a rich, loving life. Even when she turned 100, she would still sing together with me, and she would share her amazing, contagious smile. “I’m Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover” was one of her favorites! After a song or two, we often enjoyed flipping through her photo albums of her expansive family and friends.
Bill* was a Navy veteran who served part of his tour during World War II as a navigator for a landing ship defending the Philippines. Although Bill sometimes struggled with speaking and had trouble remembering things, his eyes lit up when I showed him pictures of his ship, and he loved to talk about it. Bill was a big fan of General MacArthur.
Shirley* was a happy woman. Although she was living with dementia, she was always in a pleasant mood and often laughed out loud for no apparent reason—and I couldn’t help smiling every time she laughed. We came up with a game of rolling a ball across the table to each other. Often, several other residents would join with us for a rousing game of “rolling catch.”
After my visits with each one of my clients, I felt grateful for the time we shared together, and I hope I brought an occasional smile into their lives.
They certainly did that for me.
*Patient names are changed for privacy.
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