Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Visit

I've been putting the visit off for a while now.
Auntie Glad's nursing home holds some very sad memories for me as it was the last home my mother knew before her death fifteen years or so ago.
Then, the home, was managed by what I thought, a fairly sloppy individual so today when I buzzed to be let through the security door, I was impressed to see a smart young woman in a crisp blue uniform answer the door.
" Are you her nephew?" the carer asked as she showed me into the day room filled with sleeping residents.
"No just a friend" I told her.
Gladys looked tired when I sat down next to her. She knew who I was when I told her but her chat was vague and her mood flatter than I have seen it before. The only time the old Gladys returned was when I gave her the hand crocheted blanket Going Gently reader Amy had made for her.
Only then did she raise the soft wool to her face exclaiming " Wonderful how wonderful" so loud that a woman opposite suddenly woke up and asked no one in particular if she could go to bed.
I talked about the Flower Show schedules and the village news and in a pause Gladys said " I'm not quite right you know" 
I held her hand for a moment and asked her what she meant
Gladys shook her head, seemingly unable to articulate what she wanted to say
Moments later she gave a tiny laugh " I'm done for" she said quietly.



82 comments:

  1. Such a shame, this flame slowly flickering out.

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    1. Perhaps it was a bad day

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  2. What a sad revelation from this wonderful lady, but hardly surprising given her surroundings. It's a shame so many homes don't provide a more stimulating environment for residents. I'd feel done for if I were sentenced to living somewhere so bleak.

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  3. They say a person becomes more of what they have always been. In the middle of her decline she is still gracious and enthusiastic, that really says something.

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  4. Oh, Aunt Glad ... this makes me so sad ...

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  5. Very sad. My dad has recently gone into a nursing home with terminal cancer and isn't long for this world; wanting more than anything for it to be over.
    Seeing someone in rapid decline at the end is tough.

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  6. This has brought a lump to my throat. I'm glad she got her gift and understood where it had come from ... and who had brought it to her. You most likely gave her a lucid moment in an otherwise foggy day, and these are to be treasured.

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  7. I am so sorry. She is such a sweet, gracious lady even in her decline.

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    1. She still has a sweetness and dignity about her

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  8. Poor old Auntie Glad. I hope they are taking good care of her there.

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  9. So glad you could visit and the real lady was there for a moment. We have someone in a care home at present, it's not good when they don't know you

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  10. Such a shame John. She will be happy though at your visit even if she gets confused about who you are. And the beautiful blanket will bring some colour and comfort into her life.
    Jean

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  11. So sad ... It brought back memories of when my father-in-law was in a care home. We visited every week, but it was heatbreaking and I would come out in tears seeing his deterioration. Old age is sad.

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  12. May she be at peace until she truly rests at peace. You are a good man to go and see her. It is difficult under the best of situations to see someone we have known in a real and vibrant life fading so. Deeply sad, John.

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  13. Oh dear. Sweet Aunt Glad. I'm so glad you went to see her and she knew you and could enjoy the blanket. I hope she's getting regular visitors and they're all showing her lots of love.

    I just went to see my almost 90 year old grandmother this week. She just moved in with my aunt and sold her house. She seemed very much like you describe Auntie Glad--a very flat mood and tired. Her health is still relatively good but she just seems to have lost all spark for life.

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  14. Poor old Glad; still much loved out in Blog-World.

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  15. I visited an old friend last weekend. I asked Laura to come, and participate. We made Jean's day. She won't remember next time, but we will make her day, again.

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  16. Oh John, your heart must have been breaking, mine is.

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  17. When I used to go to visit a family member, I would set her hair and 3 other ladies whilst I was there. THey would be waiting for me in the one room! lol We used to laugh our heads off. And they loved a bit of nail varnish as well. Having their hair done and a little bit of titivating can lift them.

    I hope she looks at the blanket and remembers you were there.

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    1. My great aunt always had a simple haircut so there was nothing to set. But she did like her red lipstick, and to have her nails done. How we laughed and talked together during those times - about anything and everything. So pleased to have shared that time with her.

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  18. Why does the end have to be so sad. As I get older it weighs on me. Wish we could just disappear.

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  19. Her soul is making every effort to escape her body and fly free. Dear old soul, I hope she goes quietly and peacefully when her time comes. How lovely she had a moment of sunshine with your visit and that beautiful blanket.

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    1. That is a very comforting way of seeing it ... an effort to escape the body and be free.. I appreciate that ..

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  20. So sad. It's scary getting old and knowing things are fading.

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  21. Tears in my eyes. Thank you so much for sharing her with us all for so long. She feels like a friend and she will always be an inspiration. Sorry for what you're experiencing, but so glad there was a connection today.

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  22. It is sad, but I guess Aunt Glad doesn't realise too much. It does raise the thought for me, can we live too long? You are privileged to have known her when she was younger. Aunt Glad's fate may well be yours or mine.

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  23. That is the second time in a couple of months a blog has made me tearful.

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  24. Thank you Amy for taking the time to make a colorful blanket for Auntie Glad. And to you too, John, for visiting her and your caring. At my end I also hope for thoughtful gestures and love.

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  25. It is heartbreaking to see her decline so rapidly after being so busy throughout her life. I will remember her as the photo in your side bar and of tales of her sitting outside her house in a deckchair making the most of the sunshine.

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  26. Lovely to see her.
    I almost didn't recognize her without her colorful dresses, and glamourous hair.
    The blanket is a wonderful gift, one I'm sure aunt Glad will treasure.
    Did she mention making you scones ?
    I wish I lived close by, I would take her to the seaside :)
    ~Jo

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  27. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here should be the motto of all residential 'homes'.

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    1. I dont quite agree with that

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    2. Me neither and if I ever became a multi millionaire I would open a residential/care home and ask a certain John Grey if he would like to take charge of it.

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    3. I totally disagree. My mother in law lived too long, she was over 100 when she died. She did not suffer from dementia but she was confused/forgetful and why not, she was over 100 years old ! :)
      She was able to remain at home right up to the end. But she had a very sweet old (2nd) husband who was there to watch over her ( he was a "younger man") .. in his 80s .

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    4. No, some maybe, not all. My great aunt lived to be over 100, my great uncle died fifty years earlier and she lived alone until she was in her late 90's. Eventually she had trouble coping and moved into a home full of kind and caring people. She told my father "I wish I'd done this years ago.".

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  28. Poor Gladys. At least she is in a place where she can get good care. It must be very strange and terrifying to know you are fading. I'm glad she enjoyed her blanket.

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  29. She knows the end is drawing near, as it will for all of us who are lucky enough to live a long life. This was much the way my dad was in his last year of life. We could see his rapid aging, his struggle to be who he used to be, and the decline. In his times of clarity he became quite pensive and sad, and he was able to express that his life was nearing its end. It's heartbreaking, but it is also natural. I hope I can be as cognizant when that time comes for me. Thank you for the update, John, and you did well to go when there were such difficult memories for you at the home.

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  30. At least she is getting care and attention John and folks are going to see her. Fading from this life is never easy - I make myself think that is is worse for the visitors than it is for the sufferers - that helps me keep sanity at the moment.

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    1. Thank you pat, the voice of pragmatism x

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  31. Good to hear that you'd been to visit dear Auntie Glad xx

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  32. May we all meet our end with her grace and dignity. At the end, that's all that's left to us.
    Good of you to visit, John.
    Mike

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  33. Oh dear, this is so sad. *hug* John.

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  34. So fiercely independent beforehand but now what is left for Gladys? Just the waiting and it sounds as if she knows this too. It's good that you visited her. Please go back next month if you have the time.

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    1. I want to visit with some of the committee

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  35. Probably Auntie Glad is not a ''prisoner''--maybe someone could bring her out for a few hours to visit the flower show, or just for a ride in the summer lanes. When my mom was at a similar stage, she was so heartened by a drive past her old house and along the beach, a brief visit to her social club. She was frail mentally and physically, used a walker, but a few hours of the outside world meant so much.

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  36. It's so sad, to see such a wonderful old lady looking so frail and unlike her former self.
    My mother fortunately had a good memory, and good health until the end, at 92. She lived in her own home, with help, and I'm sure being in familiar surroundings prolonged her life considerably.

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  37. How sad. It's very thoughtful and kind of you go visit her. It was the right thing to do. We must not disparage the older ones, as we will all be 'there' one day. I hope she had a pleasant day.

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  38. That is sad John. Poor dear. It seems to be she's recognising that it's nearly time to go, but, as someone else said, the environment in any rest home isn't one big laugh, is it. Thank you for going - for all of us.

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  39. The story is also about your kindness Johne.

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    1. No, it's about hers yael

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    2. It is a good thing that she has you in her life so far.

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  40. Thank you for giving us our Auntie Gladys and thank you for visiting her for us.

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  41. Delightful post...but I am so sorry she feels done for. What a lift that blanket gave her. Thank you for visiting and keeping us updated. So sorry she is fading away.

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  42. That is so kind of you to hold her hand. I think that so many people miss that sort of contact as they age. Your post brings tears to my eyes. I think that Aunt Gladys is everyone's aunt that reads this blog. We all love her. So sweet of Amy to make the blanket.

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  43. Thank you for the update, and for being there to brighten her day. It is hard to visit, but the more people do, the better her day will be. I do hope we can all stay engaged as our lights begin to fade. I do hope that her comments "I'm done for" is a recognition of her stage in life, and not a surrender to circumstances.

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  44. Happy you went to see her. I know it must have been difficult for you, bless your heart. That alert smile is gone. It's all in Gods time and hands.

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  45. So good of you to visit. The end comes for all of us.I think it is strangely sweet that she chuckled a bit at the thought. God bless.

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  46. Difficult to go there John..hard also to see someone you also feel great fondness for decline and knowing it. Lovely of Amy to gift the cuddly blanket she made for Glad..I'm sure from what Glad said she felt the love. Hugs ((:))

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  47. Give yourself a hug from me.You are a good man in a often unkind world Mr. John Grey.That has value without measure.

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  48. I am very misty as I read. My father passed away in assisted care after a long battle with Parkinson's. He was so graceful through it all. When he was passing so many of the staff came to say goodbye to him, a sort of harem. You are one of the good guys John. It's never easy to watch someone you love and care about decline. You have shared wonderful stories of Auntie Glad that will make her live on. So sweet.

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  49. Oh bless her! My Dad said something to that effect when we visited him in the care home too.

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  50. It's been more than 30 years now since my beloved grandmother died. Her constant refrain in the last 6 months or so of her 98 years was, "I'm too old."

    Dear Auntie Glad's comment immediately reminded me of my Gran. While it was sad for you, John, your visit would have cheered her immensely. And Amy's rug! Now that obviously cheered her enormously.

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  51. Aww dear Auntie Glad, makes me very sad to see her looking so lost. Your visit would have made a sunny break in an otherwise dreary day. I cannot for the life of me understand why care homes do not place more importance on the "wellness" of their clients. A decent hairdo would make them feel all so much better instead they all resort to the short flat brushed off the face look that is easy to do and makes everyone look old and washed out. It's a pity to be old I think.

    Jo in Auckland, NZ

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    1. Jo you are so right. If not for the patient it sure would make the relatives feel a whole lot better to see them looking loved as well as cared for. My mum was in a nursing home in NZ (my brother lives in NZ & Mum wanted to be near him) and she was given the proverbial 'basin' cut. For a woman that was stylish and took pride in her appearance this must have been heart wrenching if she ever got to look at herself. Broke my heart to see her like that at her end.

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  52. Glad that Aunty Gladys liked the blanket, I hope that it will give her a little hug and some comfort. So sad to see our loved ones declining as they get older isn't it. I am sure that she would have loved to have you as her nephew, you are just as important to her as family. I hope that all will be as well for Aunty Gladys as it can be, and for you too John.

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    1. You did a lovely thing for Glad...very caring and generous. Elle xx

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  53. How fortunate for Auntie Gladys to have a friend like you, John.

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    1. She has a lot of visitors...all go more often than i

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  54. Thanks for the update on Auntie Gladys as sad as it was to read. It reminded me of the title of your blog"Going gently", if any of us really do. My Mom was a type 1 diabetic,going blind, and hated her nursing home. The staff were very good but she was unhappy not being home.

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  55. Makes me sad . . .
    Remembering my mom . . .
    (The good part . . . you went, you visited, you were present.)

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  56. Very sad. My 95 year old mum is now in a sheltered housing block and she also is increasingly vague and flat and disconnected from the outside world. I hope I go while I'm still mentally alert and physically active.

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  57. The nephew doesn't visit a lot then? Poor Old Soul's light has been extinguished. It shows in her face.

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  58. Oh, Gladys...very sad. How wonderful that one of your readers, Amy, crocheted such a lovely blanket for her.

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  59. Blimey John, you've made me cry again. Bless her.

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