I remember seeing her sitting there at a table in the recreation room of the nursing home, staring out the window.  As I passed by, she looked my way, so I smiled and waved and she waved back.  Since I was there as a volunteer, visiting anyone that would like a little company, I walked over and introduced myself.

“What is your name” I asked.

She replied “Florence”.

I sat down and commented on how beautiful the trees beyond the window were with the sun filtering through the branches.  That is when I discovered that Florence was trapped within the walls of dementia.  She started to talk and most of what she said was gibberish.  I was only able to pick up a few words that allowed me to make comments.  For the most part, I just sat and smiled, nodding my head from time to time.

We sat for about a half hour during which time Florence talked non stop.  When I got up to leave, she waved and again began looking out the window.

Several weeks and several visits passed and I did not see Florence.  Then, a few weeks ago, as the staff was assembling the residents in the recreation room for an activity, I looked at the faces in the room and there was Florence.  As we caught each others eye, she smiled and yelled “Hi”.  I walked over to her and she held out her arms and we shared a hug.  I say shared because I don’t know if I gave one or got one.  Probably both.

Since that day, I have seen Florence occasionally on my weekly visits.  Each time I am the recipient of a smile and a hug.  I don’t know who she may think I am, but she is always glad to see me.  And if that, for just a little while makes her happy, then I am happy too.  Sometimes it is just easier to communicate with your heart.


About oldmainer

I am retired and live in southern Maine with my wife and two dogs. I started Oldmainer .wordpress.com as an outlet for my occasional opinions and random observations, with some poetry thrown in. I welcome anyone that wants to kick back and join me here on the porch, exploring all the gifts we have been given and the memories collected. Thanks for stopping by.
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2 Responses to Florence

  1. Bernard Hukee says:

    Your message a good lesson.


    My uncle had some sort of dementia.

    As we lived 700 miles away, I only saw

    him about 2 times in the nursing home.


    The last time I saw him, he sat mostly

    quiet .  I tried talking about old times,

    when I was young and he was young to

    middle  adult.  I said I suppose you don’t

    remember.  He responded strongly,

    I REMEMBER.  And I knew by how he

    responded that the light came on and he did.


    • oldmainer says:

      It’s kind of sad really. Some have short term memory and some have long term but can’t remember what happened today. My mom had short term. Would keep asking me if her father had died and when I said yes, she would cry and ask why no one had told her. You never know what is in there and can only hope that somehow you are reaching them.


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