I miss her for who she was. But I also miss her because of who I was to her, if that makes any sense at all. I have a unique relationship with each elderly person I get to work with, but with her it was a bond that doesn’t come along often.
She trusted me.
Looking back, I am amazed by how special that was, and what an honor. That kind of total, confident trust is rare, especially in someone who can’t trust their own brain or memory.
She recognized my voice and remembered my name, clear till the end. She had an excellent team of caregivers, of which I was one; but I was the only Frances.
As she often got tangled in panic and delusions that were very real to her, I’d try to meet her there and reassure her and pray with her. Once she told me, “I feel like I’ve been let out of prison, by you.”
She showered on the praise and appreciation. It was over-the-top sometimes but to a greenhorn caregiver, it kept my spirits up! Working with her, I learned so much that I will use and build upon for the rest of my life. Not just “professionally” but personally.
It’s a year now since she died. Missing that kind smile today.