On the drive to visit my hospice client this morning, I remembered it has been several months since I saw “the walking woman.” When the weather was tolerable for such pursuits, I often encountered her, beautifully attired in a flowered dress and light coat, always a felt hat and gloves. As I slowed the truck, she smiled brightly and waved the hand that wasn’t holding a straggly bouquet of wild flowers. Twenty feet behind, her husband sat at the wheel of their Honda. The first time I came upon them, he was trying to get her into the car. I slowed as he slammed the door in obvious temper. I asked if he needed help. “No she just walks and now it’s time to go home. Thanks anyway.” The next time I saw them I understood. Obviously her mind was slowing slipping away. He was doing his best to keep up with her and keep up a sense of normalcy. It must have been overwhelming.
My friend and I sat at the table while his wife went for groceries and a break from the house. He was tired today. We spoke about his childhood. He was twelve when WWII ended. At times in a story, his eyes would spark, his shaggy brows would lift and he would speak in his mother tongue. I don’t speak the language. He laughed and in his wonderful thick accent said, “Well I’m going to teach you then! As I forget, you will learn.”
Later Lorraine, my hospice volunteer coordinator, called. A new program, Pet Peace of Mind, funded by the Banfield Charitable Trust, is being launched and I volunteered to help with the administration of the funds. Lorraine was thrilled to report she had the first customer for the program. A hospice client owned two Springer Spaniels who were in need of grooming, but finances wouldn’t allow for it. Lorraine grew up with Springers and just happened to know these dogs very well. She offered to sign the couple up for the program and the wife was thrilled. When her husband died two days before the dogs’ appointment at the groomer, the wife assumed she was no longer eligible for the care. Lorraine assured her the appointment would be kept and took the dogs herself.
I don’t know what it all means, but when you get to see that much kindness on a regular basis, I am reminded to be thankful for the little things. Longer days, warmer nights, less noise and more music.