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A bettter Than Expected Visit
MrToad
Posted: Saturday, July 7, 2018 7:27 AM
Joined: 7/13/2017
Posts: 444


Over the years, DW and her surviving younger sister have been distant, in more ways than one. Not estranged, they are friends, but not sisterly close. Sister last saw Kathleen over two years ago before our move to Michigan, and long before Kathleen's move last January to the MC. So when sister arrived in town from Florida for a visit I had dinner with her and her husband and briefed her thoroughly on what she would see, e.g. the layout of the MC, (the likes of which she had never seen); the condition of the other residents; and Kathleen’s situation, now wheelchair bound, talking, but not necessarily making much sense. Very unlike the last time they'd been together a couple of years ago. 

Sister took it all in bravely. After dinner, I had them wait in the common area of the MC while I fetched Kathleen from her household. This way, they didn’t have to react to all the other residents too. As I wheeled Kathleen out, clutching her electronic puppy upside down, I could tell that her sister was a bit shocked, but she held it together very well. They had a nice, brief first visit that evening.

Over the next couple of days, they had a series of more in-depth visits, seeing Kathleen in her own household, in her courtyard, and in her own room. The conversations were good and generally easy. Sister and brother-in-law quickly got the hang of just going with the flow, regardless of logic or lack thereof. Kathleen seemed to understand who sister was, and enjoyed the visits. In fact, a caregiver mentioned that when we’d been there in the AM, and had taken a break for lunch, to come back later, Kathleen had been weeping at our absence. Sorry about that, but it meant that the visit was meaningful to her, which was good.

The last afternoon, sister, husband and I went to our college town’s little downtown shopping district full of boutique food and clothing shops. Sister headed into a clothing shop and unerringly spotted several shirts and pants that she said would look great on Kathleen, and even tried them on to verify their correct size (The sisters look like near twins.) So Kathleen now has several new outfits that I never would have picked out for her, and she looks great in them and loves them. She gets a kick when I tell her anew each time she wears them that her sister picked them out for her.

By the end of the visit, sister told me over dinner that she planned to return in a few months for another visit. Although I had been nervous about how the whole thing would go, it all turned out to be a good experience for all. Whew.

 

 


jfkoc
Posted: Saturday, July 7, 2018 11:52 AM
Joined: 12/4/2011
Posts: 18959


lovely...thanks for the share
ruthmendez
Posted: Saturday, July 7, 2018 2:39 PM
Joined: 9/8/2017
Posts: 2314


Sometimes I find visits stressful and don't really look forward to them.  But, in the end, it's worth it. A bit of spark is usually left behind after the visit is gone...
Jo C.
Posted: Sunday, July 8, 2018 1:12 PM
Joined: 12/9/2011
Posts: 11232


Dear Jim, what a beautiful story; it had my eyes leaking a bit.   Thank you so much for sharing and what a wonderful sister . . . . truly one of those blessings one does not expect but that brings so much to everyone involved and Kathleen has smiles.

J.