Going walkabout

Last night, we really got the chance to show Syd the good neighbor policy in action. 

We weren't even sure she was still living there.  We hadn't seen her in a couple years.  Once in a while, I'd see her home health nurse and we would see her moving around the house through the front window.  Her grandson is living with her and we aren't that fond of him. 

Yesterday, when Rob got home, a different neighbor asked him if he knew our across the street neighbor.  And, Rob did.  The different neighbor found her wandering and took her to his house.  We believe she'd been out in the heat for a couple hours.  She was convinced that "the kids" were in the car around the corner, waiting for her and she needed to find them. 

By the time I got home, Rob had her settled in her house and Sydney was there, sitting with her and entertaining the dog while Rob talked to her son.  I went over and talked to her and I got the chance to talk to her son.  While this was the first time she'd gotten out of the house, she has advanced Alzheimer's.  He seemed surprised that we wouldn't leave her alone. 

She could not understand that she was at home.  She kept thinking her son was coming to get her to take her home and she "really needed to get home."  And, while she said her things looked familiar, she didn't recognize the house or neighborhood.

I asked her about her daughter and that at least changed the topic and she told us many times about adopting her son and daughter as infants when she and her husband were stationed in Germany right after the war.  She could remember things along the timeline.  She knew her daughter had passed away and why.  But, she couldn't remember whether her grandchildren were her son or daughter's children.  She couldn't remember that she was a teacher.  But, she sure was convinced we were there from the church, so we finally just let that be the truth.  And, we kept reminding her she was home.  And, she'd lived there 30 years and we lived across the street.  Even in her confusion, she was confident.  She seemed to trust that we were there to help. 

We left Syd there and Rob and I came home.  I cut the largest chicken breast in half and made dinner and we walked back across the street with four plates and flatware and napkins.  And, she ate everything we fed her and I think she would have eaten more if I'd brought it.  At one point, she remembered that she hadn't had lunch. 

We visited for a while and then a friend of her grandson came to sit with her until the grandson got off work. 

We don't think she will be able to live there much longer, but while she is, we are committed to checking whether the grandson is home and if not, checking on her.  And, the neighbors are keeping a watch out in case she gets out again.  We assumed this was an isolated bad day for her, but the family made it sound like this is pretty normal.  I sure hope not. 

I'm going to work late today in hopes that I can talk to the home health nurse and get her to check on a sore arm that she was complaining about last night. 

In short, when we need to do, we do all we can do.  And, once again, Sydney got to see us.  And, just like I learned this from watching my parents, I'm hoping Sydney will learn it from watching us (I really, really think she will.  She sure never batted an eye about any of the things we asked her to do while she was there).  And, the circle of life goes on.  One lesson, passed generationally.

It's not just do unto others.  It's do for others, too.

Be well.  Have a great Friday. 


Marei said...

Beautifully said...."do FOR others"...and a great lesson for all of us to remember. You, Rob & Syd are wonderful people.

Elle said...

I don't come here for the quilting although I enjoy seeing the result of your skill. I come here knowing that I'll witness a little slice of the life of a genuine human being, doing his best in the world. You're a gem!

jane said...

I am with Elle, I love seeing your quilts, but I do not quilt. But I enjoy seeing your writing about your life and your daughter. I also get drawn into the stories about your work life. Like reading a long interesting book.

Mari said...

Good for you guys! Dementia is the cruelest disease. Hope Sydney is doing well in college.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for caring and being a good neighbor and person!

Becky said...

Bless all of you!! Dementia is so nasty. Keeping this sweet lady in my prayers.

Love you!

Anonymous said...

What a touching post. Thank you for being a good neighbour. That could be the Mother of any one of us.. Mary