Monday, January 25, 2010
We took Dad to lunch last week at the Adult Family Home we liked the best after our tour. All meeting at his current facility, Dad and Del went in one car, and my sister and I piled into mine. They were just starting lunch when we got there, and the owner, a quiet-spoken yet authoritative gentleman from Romania, welcomed Dad in and seated him gently at the table with the other residents. One of the women seemed extra perky and we found out that she was actually the wife of one of the residents, who came to visit every other day or so. As my sister and I sat on the couch and observed lunch and the caregivers, she directed a few questions our way. Eventually, she came over to join us, a tiny, slightly bent over package of energy and wit, wearing a sequined sweater and speaking with a slight accent. She began to tell us her story. It turned out she and her husband were Dutch, and that they had lived an extraordinary life together. Evidently they had been in Indonesia during the Second World War and been imprisoned in a concentration camp. They had no children. And how, after all the suffering and life they had lived, her husband was diagnosed with dementia and was now under hospice care at an Adult Home she was beginning not to be able to afford. She laughed that he was younger than she and much the healthier of the two, and that she had married him relying on the fact that he could take care of her in old age. While seeming rueful at the cruel paths life can take, she was at the same time, philosophical about it all. I couldn't help but admire her spirit and attitude, and I look forward to getting to know her a little better as Dad settles in to his new home.