usually, my client is sitting downstairs when I arrive. there was a young man playing piano which she's mentioned enjoying before. the seats were generously filled with old people, but none of them the old person I wanted. I went up to her room.
all her lights were out, but she greeted me warmly and motioned me into her living room which was getting some light from the window. we talked for a bit. she has dementia that ranges from harmless and adorable to oh god how did they allow me to be in charge of this woman, and today it was bad. she insisted she'd had lunch before I arrived, which for her means she doesn't want to eat today.
she likes coffee, though. I make hers about 30% milk and stick a muffin in front of her while we're talking. she usually eats about half, and for her those few hundred calories count for a lot.
with some food in her, she regained some of her composure, so we went to do some shopping for her.
we stopped at a few places, and finally found one item on her list, a jacket, at sears. at this point, my shift had been over for a while, but I was told specifically not to worry about running over. and I don't mind. she's so appreciative of the company, and I'm pretty fond of her. also, it's an hour away both ways, and I might as well put some extra time on the clock.
I dropped her off and left to pick up my check. when I parked to go into the office, I noticed her handbag in my passenger seat, sighed, got my check and got back on the highway.
the woman at the desk knew exactly why I was there. I went back up to my client's room and knocked.
the lights were on now. she smiled enthusiastically and explained to me what had happened since I left her. using the same even tone with which she'd described the rest of her afternoon, she told me her son just died.
her son has been dying for months, and in a coma for the last week. it took her a minute, but the emotion of what she'd just said caught up with her and I sat with her and her grief for a while. she was glad I was there. I don't really know what to make of this experience, but I think I'm glad I was there too.