Lynne’s friend, Karen, visited her. Visits can be heartbreaking now. They can also give her pleasure long after they give us heartbreak. Karen gave me permission to share our messages.
Karen. The last couple of visits to see Lynne have been heartbreaking. I admire your dedication and persistence. Lynne is blessed to have you. She doesn’t show any sign of knowing me at all anymore; she becomes wary and walks quickly away each time I approach. Today, I hoped that bringing some berry tarts and a photo of her and Simon from kindergarten in the Montlake School days might spark recognition, but she still just told me to go away. After a while I asked a caregiver to put the tarts and photo in her room, said goodbye to Lynne, and departed. Then I got in my car and cried. I miss her so much.
Dad: Karen, I’m so sorry you are also having those experiences. You are helping by going to see her, telling me & people what it’s like, and letting me know I’m not alone. Your visits have been heartbreaking for me also. I have had the same rejections. And it’s hard for me to hear what happened to you because you are such a friend. I hope you understand it means a lot to me that you made those visits. We are in a time when some visits work and some don’t. And, of course, it puts us into a state of grieving. I love her so much, but who I love now is different than who I loved earlier. We all change, so who we love now is never who we loved earlier, but her decline is swift right now. I promise you we will keep working for ideas that help her. I bring M & M peanuts and a dark chocolate peppermint patty in a baggie to give her. She carries them around until she finally pulls the last one out. Now, she smiles when she sees me and stuffs her hand in the bag. I returned her headphones with her cell in a fanny pack playing Spotify Life Channel Radio’s upbeat music. She listens from the morning when I deliver her Starbucks drink until she goes to bed at night after her candy. I wait until she goes to bed before I can get the cell and headphones away from her to recharge them. She’s happy much of the time I see her. I am hopeful her happy lasts.
Dad: Karen, your card and photo created several thrills yesterday. I retrieved them from her room where staff placed the for viewing. I told Lynne, your friend Karen sent you a card. Could I show you? Her eyes widened as she nodded. I shifted her headphones onto her neck to show her the picture. She recognized Simon and herself. I read your note, “To my dearest friend Lynne. I found this picture of you and Simon on the first day of kindergarten. I was there with R, and he was so excited to see his playground friend. Do you remember how Simon and R were likes peas in a pod when they were young? I miss those days and cherish the memories.” Lynne’s blue eyes glowed.
Simon and the boys visited Lynne that afternoon. Karen’s card and photo jostled loose their fond memories of R, and Karen as Mom’s dear friend through it all.
We must never give up gifting Lynne and each other.