Being in a memory care facility, like the one that my family members were in Savannah, is like being with family. Residents all sit at the meal tables with the same group and become, over time, a soul family. A family of people who aren’t related by blood nor marriage, but are family all the same in the best sense – the sense of belonging together, sharing meals, supporting each other and caring with kindness that goes beyond, goes deeper than simple connections.
One might say that in a memory care facility, residents don’t always recognize other people nor interact, but we were truly blessed. Not only did the residents bond with each other, sharing stories (sometimes repeatedly – it was always a joy to hear them), but the families of the residents bonded in ways that we couldn’t have foreseen.
What binds us together is a love connection – the innate understanding that we get it – we know how it feels to have a loved one living in a memory care facility and all that goes along with it and we’re grateful for the unexpected friendships that accompany our experiences.
So when I got the phone message that my friend’s Mama passed away the other morning, the tears burst out of my eyes and I began to cry while listening to her message. My phone volume had been turned down and because it was in the bottom of my purse, I missed her call. Immediately I called her back, but she didn’t pick up. I tried not to weep too much, but I left her a message telling her how sad I was to hear the news.
You see, her Mama and my loved ones were best friends, having lived in the same home for two years. Every meal, they ate together, shared stories and smiled. They bonded in the most beautiful way. I am getting weepy remembering how in the last few years of their lives, these strangers shared a bond, connected and loved one another as if they were family. I could regale you with so many stories of special moments we shared together. My friend and I took special care of each other’s loved ones when we were visiting them. It was truly a blessing. I pray that someday when I’m older, if I should go to a home, that I find such loving residents (and caregivers) to call my soul family. That’s how strongly I feel and why I am so sad about her Mama’s passing for it is the end of a chapter in our lives.
Her Mama is at peace now for which we are all grateful. But there’s that part of me, the one that wants one more hug, one more smile from Wilma and one more story. I want to see her needlepoint again and hear her laugh. I know for sure, that she is up there in Heaven, happy to be reunited with her family, her husband and my loved one again. I know I now have another special angel looking out for me from Heaven and I am ever grateful that we connected so long ago. Rest in Peace Miss Wilma. God Bless.