Ruthie. She's the resident who lives on the same unit as my mom. She never has visitors, ever. Her daughter sends her a card every day; shaky handwriting indicating that her daughter is unable to make the trips to the home to see her mom.
Ruthie was the first resident that I got to know. She would wheel herself over to me and my mom every time I visited; she is now one of my friends. I visit Ruthie every day, we have our alone time and she loves it.
Ruthie talks. I never knew that she spoke until one day, with a big smile on her face, pointing at me, she said, "Ice cream!" I do my best to keep in the freezer, fudge ice cream bars made from coconut milk and agave nectar for my mom and her friends
One day last week, after I had tucked my mom in bed, I visited with Ruthie in the dining room.
"We had a good time." She said to me as she smiled and laughed, reaching out to hold my hand. Earlier in the day, I danced with Ruthie. We had fun. It is awesome to see her laugh and enjoy herself even if she is confined to her wheelchair.
Friday, when the State Surveyor's were in the home doing a review of the nursing facility, I was sitting next to Ruthie and my mom. Ruthie pointed to the State worker and said to me, "Now they are all paying attention." She began to laugh, finding it very funny that the staff was tripping over themselves to help the residents. Help that we never witness during a regular day when no one is watching except resident's family members who visit frequently.
I love Ruthie. I love visiting with her, she always says something to make me laugh.
Another night last week when I visited with Ruthie after tucking my mom into bed, she said to me; "People say I'm crazy." She laughed and twirled her index finger in circles around the temple of her right eye.
"Who says they are not the crazy ones? Aren't we all crazy to someone... who's right?" I replied.
Ruthie busted out laughing. She is not crazy. She just has difficulty speaking and has learned how to make the words she says count.
I visited with Ruthie on Thursday night and before I left she said to me, "I used to be sad all the time... then I met you."
A true gift from the heart, words that filled my being with love. I hugged my little friend. I thanked her for touching my heart and making me laugh. I promised to bring her more cookies and ice cream.
Time to get those cookies in the oven... I need to give Ruthie a gift from the heart.