Then, one day I was cleaning a residents room. It was a resident who had tried to “escape” many times. I was very worried about his health when he tried this. With permission, I emptied out the luggage that he was always packing for his grand escape. I was surprised that in it I had found the missing photo of my wife.
It had seemed that this 93 year old was gentleman was in love with my wife. Now mind you, she is about 50 years his junior. After talking to him about the photo, I realize he had no idea who she was my wife. He would write love letters and give them to me to mail to her. Of course, he had no address, so I kept these letters gently tucked away for him. I had no idea he was writing them to my wife.
My wife would drop in to see me at work and that resident was always patiently waiting for her to come and say hi to him which would always turn out to be an hour visit with him dotting all over her. I always thought this was funny because he never knew he was flirting with the administrators wife. i would simply go along with it. Later on in our many conversations he told me why he was always packing his things up. He stated that he was going to go after his sweetheart aka my wife .
As he began to decline physically and mentally, his luggage got lighter and lighter, still, the photo was on top of his luggage. Three to four days before he passed on his luggage consisted of an large manila envelope. He had said that he didn’t need the material things where he was going. He said that the file folder and the suitcase was too heavy to carry with him.
When he passed, I looked in the file and the only thing he had was the photo of my wife and a thank you letter he had left me. I kept the thank you letter as a reminder of the lesson he taught me. The lesson was that sometimes it is simply best to just be quiet and not say nothing when dealing with dementia, laugh as much as you can, and just go with whatever your resident is saying.
The truth is your living in there world. This is Anthony Diaz from Rosa’s Chante Assisted Living saying home is where the heart is…