Gifts of life ...

Working with aging adults is truly one of the best jobs in the world.
Just this week, this writer had the blessing of bathing beautiful women, well into their 80's (maybe 90's). It is such an intimate time for a care giver to bath a grown person, soaping up the cloth, holding the shower head just right, weighing in on how much help to offer all while preserving dignity and self-pride. Honestly, stand in your underwear in a bathroom, and imagine a person, who is not your family, tucking fingers into the top of your underwear and dropping them to the floor, causing, without fail this caregiver's face to be level with all that is the most private part of your body.
Just this week, I sat at the bedside and spoon fed a woman whose breast is leaking fluid and the brain tumour confuses her words. Her blue eyes sparkle when you tell her "dinner is spicy tonight".
Just this week, I helped a woman to the bathroom while trying not to drop the stroke monitor hanging around her neck into the toilet. As she told me, "I am not in pain anywhere, I just can't get the words out." So she counts the words on her fingers as she says them.
Just this week, I watched a woman tear up as she told me the story of being separated from her son because he is mad at her for something that happened years ago. He cannot get past it. She cries for her boy.
Just this week, I watched a man who has been told yet again, "you will never walk again", and so has made it his mission to prove them wrong and, just today, I watched him stand at his wheelchair and transfer himself to another chair.
Just this week, I had a man ask to see his brother, to say goodbye, before the ambulance took him away because he knew he was done and dying. His wife wanted to take his razor to the hospital. He said, "don't worry about it. Lock the door and come back after its all over." He hugged me, we prayed together and he left for the hospital. He died three hours later.
Imagine, laying in bed and having a person come in and pull back the covers open the brief where you have been forced to let go of your waste and watch from the bed, flat on your back while this person turns you to get into the intimate parts of your body, to ensure you are clean and washed all while discussing the weather or the storyline of Dr. Phil! It is rarely talked about because it is one of the hardest things for any person to do. Be dependent on another for care.
This week I personally engaged with over 200 aging adults from all walks of life. This is a normal week for me! All stories, all challenges, all spiritual engagements welcome.
As I say it is the best job in the world. I say this because this work creates a bond between two people. A bond of trust and compassion, and when done well, is enriching for both people involved. Sharing life's realities and the grief and bereavement aging adults suffer through becomes the work of the front-line caregiver.
As sure as the sun rises in the east, next week will be more of the same. Daily miracles and blessings ...

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