An Author with a Story

I was introduced to Clara long before I met her. She was a children’s book author and I had read her books to my children. In fact, I found them so beautifully written, I have kept them with the hope of one day reading them to my grandchildren. The books are waiting, but meeting Clara came sooner.

It was her daughter’s hope that Clara would accept some home assistance. Her vision was compromised and daily chores were becoming more challengingOn visiting day, as I listened to Clara talk about her professional life, I reframed her daughter’s request. “How about a personal assistant?” I suggested. But try as I might, Clara said she was doing just fine.

Nine months later I received a call from her daughter. Clara had fallen and was in the hospital with a broken hip. While I helped the family find a nursing home for rehabilitation, Clara’s daughter went about moving her mother’s bedroom downstairs. Gratitude, especially toward her daughter, was not one of Clara’s virtues. Upon her return, she was not pleased with her new living arrangements or the aides I had hired.

A few months later and back on her feet, Clara decided that she did not like the positioning of a piece of furniture. So, while the caregiver prepared her lunch, she re-situated a coffee table. Within moments Clara tripped, breaking her other hip. Back to the hospital and rehab.

Upon her second return home, her family and I observed a change in Clara’s cognition. Telltale signs…thinking the late afternoon was morning, using her remote control to make a phone call and then blaming the aide for breaking her “phone.” During this time, I accompanied her to her doctors’ appointments. Her blood pressure could be controlled, but not her waning memory.

I have often said to families that time has a way of resolving those issues we cannot change in the moment. And so it was with Clara. As her dementia progressed, this once strong-willed woman became a loving mother to her daughter: a long-awaited gift her daughter embraced.

In Clara’s final year, my visits revolved around us talking about her literary world, the authors and illustrators she had befriended years earlier.  At Clara’s request, I also read to her.  It was usually a book Clara authored, but the creator she no longer recognized. Yet her smile spoke of her appreciation. And with that smile, I would leave Clara’s home reminded that the act of giving is rewarded tenfold by the gift of receiving.

An Author with a Story

I was introduced to Clara long before I met her. She was a children’s book author and I had read her books to my children. In fact, I found them so beautifully written, I have kept them with the hope of one day reading them to my grandchildren. The books are waiting, but meeting Clara came sooner.

It was her daughter’s hope that Clara would accept some home assistance. Her vision was compromised and daily chores were becoming more challengingOn visiting day, as I listened to Clara talk about her professional life, I reframed her daughter’s request. “How about a personal assistant?” I suggested. But try as I might, Clara said she was doing just fine.

Nine months later I received a call from her daughter. Clara had fallen and was in the hospital with a broken hip. While I helped the family find a nursing home for rehabilitation, Clara’s daughter went about moving her mother’s bedroom downstairs. Gratitude, especially toward her daughter, was not one of Clara’s virtues. Upon her return, she was not pleased with her new living arrangements or the aides I had hired.

A few months later and back on her feet, Clara decided that she did not like the positioning of a piece of furniture. So, while the caregiver prepared her lunch, she re-situated a coffee table. Within moments Clara tripped, breaking her other hip. Back to the hospital and rehab.

Upon her second return home, her family and I observed a change in Clara’s cognition. Telltale signs…thinking the late afternoon was morning, using her remote control to make a phone call and then blaming the aide for breaking her “phone.” During this time, I accompanied her to her doctors’ appointments. Her blood pressure could be controlled, but not her waning memory.

I have often said to families that time has a way of resolving those issues we cannot change in the moment. And so it was with Clara. As her dementia progressed, this once strong-willed woman became a loving mother to her daughter: a long-awaited gift her daughter embraced.

In Clara’s final year, my visits revolved around us talking about her literary world, the authors and illustrators she had befriended years earlier.  At Clara’s request, I also read to her.  It was usually a book Clara authored, but the creator she no longer recognized. Yet her smile spoke of her appreciation. And with that smile, I would leave Clara’s home reminded that the act of giving is rewarded tenfold by the gift of receiving.

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