Oh, did I type that outloud?
There is this place he calls his sleeping place. Even though it houses all of his earthly material goods, he will tell you, “This is not my home, I’m just visiting.”
No, he is not talking about giving up on life and going to be with the Lord… but that “far away home” is most definitely where God has placed his mind for now. And he is happy to be there, he didn’t understand it at first and I am sure it was a slow process, but soon he became comfortable with his recollection of his “old world” and chose to stay there… mentally… and come to realize that this is most certainly not his “home.”
“I am from a planet far away. And I need some shoes… I get them from Mars, can you take me? Are you my driver?”
His Earthly children have vanished from his sleeping place, refusing to come any more. Their confusion as to the reasons as to the “Why’s?” and “How’s”… no longer matter – it is what it is… and they have decided they just can’t take it.
They have become desperately void in their attempts to bring his mind back to reality… their reality, that is, and their futile attempts just cause him anger and outburst which cause them more frustration and tears.
His reality is no longer theirs. They are irritated, exasperated… and defeated,
They are weary from the pain and hurt and they cannot understand what his happening – so it’s easier in their fear of the unknown and their frustration of the place their father has gone to… to simply not visit anymore. They don’t know who he is and can’t bring themselves to enter into his “new” world… His new… life.
But he is not afraid, he is waiting for the proverbial ship to come and take him to Mars, “when will it come?” he asks the Attendant on duty. Who peeks through the window and says, “I’ll keep a look out Mr. Jones, (that is what we shall call him) “It shouldn’t be long.”
Knowing that his thoughts will move to a new subject soon all are satisfied and Mr. Jones goes to wait with his love… yes, his new love! A girlfriend he has found at this sleeping place.
She too is a resident and is not bothered that he is from distant planet, far away… she too is from another “place.” And they have found each other… here… in this place…in their place… where two “lost” souls have rediscovered a new life, with new scenarios, new stories and old memories that seem to pop out of nowhere…
“Who was that again..?”
“I seem to remember…”
And poof, it is gone…
But here, together… it all comes together – they can bring it together. To them, it doesn’t really matter… it makes some kind of sense. Their kind of sense. And they are happy and they will soon be “married….” If only in their minds.
Resident “Harold” loves to fish – and today a nice boy named Mike is bringing his boat and taking him fishing!
Harold loves to talk to Mike, he’s such a nice boy and has the most adorable little girls and a pretty little wife who come along sometimes too. Harold remembers Mikes father… he thinks anyway… maybe they were in the Army together… ?
“No… My dad was a cop.” Mike says.
“I was cop.” Says Harold – maybe that’s why you look so familiar!
“Maybe so!” says Mike “Maybe so…”
“Harold, Mike is here!” a staff member says – “We’d better go get you ready to fish!”
Harold and Mike had been talking about fishing for a long time now… It was a past time that they enjoyed together when Mike was young. It was the father-son thing to do growing up and now, with two girls… well, let’s face it – it is not quite the same as fishing with his dad… Harold.
So, today Mike brought his boat for his “New friend” Harold and some of the staff members, Harold and Mike are heading to the “lake.”
Wharla!! Sunshine Lake was born!!
Who knew fly-fishing on the Arizona pavement of a residential living facility for Dementia and Alzheimer’s could be so fun! And to hear the stories of “the one that got away,” will bring Mike and Harold new memories for the second half of this life… the one without his dad… but with his new friend.. Harold.
(Thank you Tom Reidel for your wonderful interview and your time and concern for your residents at your Assisted Living and Memory Care facility! You are a blessing to all!)
**Please note that some necessary changes have been made to protect the identity of the residents.