Thursday, March 1, 2012

A Sad Visit

Sunday morning we left at 6 a.m. to give ourselves an extra half hour on a three hour trip.  It was good we did that because for about 1/3 of the way the roads were completely snow covered.  It was difficult to see where our lane was, so we took it slow and careful.  Just like the tortoise, that's the way we "won" our race, arriving about a half hour before the church service began, just a nice, comfortable margin.

We enjoy these Sundays out when Jim is preaching at one church or another.  Especially enjoyable are the times we go to southern Alberta where we have many friends, and even more old time acquaintances.

After the second service we drove into Lethbridge to visit our elderly friend in the care home.  I think she never really knew who we were this time.  Other visits it's obvious by the way her face lights up that she's glad to see us, but that didn't happen on Sunday.  It's hard to carry on a conversation with her any more, but we usually take along something to help.  Often we take a photo album of one of the cruises that I went on with her.  She says she doesn't remember anything of them, but enjoys seeing the pictures.

This time we had a large dark chocolate bar, the flat, scored kind.  She has always enjoyed dark chocolate and likes to have a piece before bedtime.  She did seem pleased with it, but tried to give it back to us to take along for our way home.  Then I gave her the shawl I had knit for her.  She admired the softness and the lovely colours, but seemed puzzled about what it was for, so I demonstrated by putting it over my shoulders.  Then I draped it over her shoulders, but she immediately said, "Take it off" which I did. She folded it and placed it on the table in front of her, stroking it now and then.

The wording on the chocolate wrapper caught her attention, and, pointing out the words she read, "Extra Dark" and then "Extra --- " and asked, "What does that mean?" referring to the French word "Noir."  (Canadian packaging is labelled in both English and French, since they are the two official languages.)  We explained it was French for "Dark."  Every few minutes she returned to the wrapper and read the words again, and again asked about "Noir."

We had noticed this repetition last August already when she continually commented on the dress I was wearing.  It seems that she is at a loss in terms of making conversation, and gets focused on one item.

This is a woman who was smart, adventuresome and often acerbic.  She traveled widely, married late, and was widowed twice.  She has twelve step children, and many (step)grandchildren, just one of whom lives nearby.  When I mentioned that he and his wife were expecting their second child in two weeks, she replied, "I don't care."  The only time we saw a glimmer of the old Hilda was when I said we would be having supper with her step son and his wife, and she said, "How BORING!!" which was one of her favorite comments over the years.

When we were about to leave, I put my arm around her, told her we love her and gave her a kiss on the cheek.  She kind of "harumphed" and wiped the kiss off her cheek.

I had tears in my eyes when we left, the first time that she didn't walk to the door with us to say goodbye.


  1. I'm so sorry. That visit sounds heartbreaking. Sending prayers your way.

  2. That sounds like a heart wrenching visit! God love you for being so good to her - remember the Hilda you grew to love over the years!

  3. Thanks for the prayers and encouragement. We do cherish the memory of Hilda as she was, and that's why we will continue to visit her whenever we have the opportunity.