Yesterday John and I headed northward to our home in Michigan. I hated to leave behind all the great friends and fun times we experience in Kings Point.
I have been taking lots of photos and I plan to create a collage of head shots of the lovely folks we consider our Florida Friends. It’ll take some time to go through all of the pictures I have taken and pick out good ones. You’ll want to check back, if you think you might be included.
The last few days of our visit flew past. We enjoyed the pool as much as possible. Of course we were at Rockin’ Rendezvous Thursday. We had our buddy Bob over for dinner Sunday evening. We packed. I spent as much time with Mom as I could.
Now we’re on the road headed north.
I’m already looking forward to returning. Although we can’t drive down again until mid-September, I’ve decided to fly back alone two times (once in June and the second time in late August). I know it’ll be deserted when I come back by myself. Many of our friends are snowbirds so it’ll seem empty. It’s just that I can’t leave Mom longer than a couple months. I worry about her. She is my responsibility
My last visit with Mom was bitter sweet. She seemed to understand and did the “I love you a bushel and a peck” routine.
But in addition to missing Mom, I’ll also miss all the sweet people from her alzheimers unit. There’s classy Petra who must have been an elegant lady because she’s still very attractive and one I’m really close to. There’s Ruthie who “mothers” everyone. She’s made me promise I’ll continue to visit her, even if something happes to Mom. There’s Ray who observes and seems to really care about the others in the unit. There’s Lois, one of the newer residents who doesn’t seem to belong in the unit at all because she’s so sharp. She’s always sweet and friendly and still loves to go out dancing with her husband. Larry is the Casanova of the unit. He loves women. When I asked him for my good-bye hug, he jumped to his feet and gave me a bear hug!
Little Monica is 102 but still loves her beer. She’s sometime demanding and surly, but at her age, she is the matriarch of the unit. Dale and I enjoy a special friendship. He held my hand all one evening when he was feeling really blue. Jean moved into the unit few months back and seemed unhappy but she’s fitting in nicely. Eleanor is also fairly new, but looks lost. Jack never talks but he has a smile that’s ear to ear. Shirley and Mom are the most “advanced” in their disease. Shirley seldom talks much but she’ll smile and say “fine” whenever I ask how she is.
They’ve become folks I value and care about. Sadly I know that their lives are as fragile as my mother’s. One bad cold or the flu can be fatal. Since Mom moved into the unit three years ago, there have been several of the members who passed away. Mac, Helen, Regina, and Doris all died while I was gone. It’s hard to say good-bye, knowing that most times when I have come back, someone has left the group. I realize Mom’s very vulnerable too.
These special people were all once vibrant. I still see traces of what they were, but in many ways they’ve already left society. It’s really sad. I hugged each one and had a few minutes of private time with each of the 12. I know they will miss me but I’ll miss them too. I’m kind of a fixture in the unit. Some of them never have any visitors at all so they look forward to my “interruption.” I make it a point to be up-beat and talkative. I tell funny stories. I make them laugh (although Mom’s past that point and can’t even smile). I question them and answer their questions even if they ask the same thing 50 times in one visit. I encourage them and tell them how important they are in my life. And those aren’t empty words said for their benefit. They do add to the quality of my life.
Now I’m getting teary so best change the topic!
We’re enjoying perfect driving weather and moderate traffic. Michigan, here we come!!