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Ch.128 The Everyday Club: Why We Come Daily to See Our Loved Ones

Ch.128 The Everyday Club: Why We Come Daily to See Our Loved Ones

January 2022

          There are approximately twenty residents at The Refuge. Some of them, sadly, hardly ever have visitors; a few only see their families on special occasions; many see their people about once or twice a week; and three residents have someone come every day to see them. I am one of those continuous “visitors,” although “regulars” seems like a better term to describe us. The other two regulars I’ll name Hector, who comes twice daily to help feed his mother, and Lorna, here to spend time with her husband. We’ve informally christened ourselves The Everyday Club.

          Not everyone understands why we come so often. “Why don’t you take a break?” they ask. “Don’t you need to take care of yourself sometimes?” So, I began this essay by asking Hector and Lorna why they come to The Refuge so often.

          Lorna: “My husband tells me things he won’t tell the staff. I come here to ensure that he receives the best care possible.”

          Hector: “I love her. She’s my mother. She raised me and now I want to give back for all she did for me when I was growing up. She was there for me when I needed her and now, I’m here for her.”

          I share Lorna’s desire to stay in the loop as part of her husband’s care team. And, although Pat is my wife, not mother, I am grateful for all she has given me, and I too want to take care of her as she has taken care of me over the 56 years of our union.

          I have many more reasons to travel to The Refuge every day.

  • It just feels right. I’m doing what I want to do.
  • I’m not ready to begin a new life. I’m in no hurry to develop new activities, new friends, etc. I’ll have more than enough time later if Pat dies before I die.
  • I want to be with Pat for as long as she needs me. I feel an obligation to sit at Pat’s side, a duty that is also an honor.
  • I like routine and predictability. Consistency and predictability are my friends.
  • I have a strong need for Pat’s touch, hugs, and kisses. I never realized before how much my body craves physical contact. Holding hands, massaging Pat’s forehead, kissing: these physical actions are comforting and healing.
  • I get an endorphin boost when Pat smiles at my entrance. Pat has a beautiful smile that tells me I am special. I feel her smile at the center of my being.
  • I have plenty of time since I am retired.
  • Coming to see Pat is a joy and not a chore, duty, or obligation.

I am grateful I have this time with Pat every day. I know that many care partners don’t have that opportunity. I am not saying that my way is the best way for everybody. Each relationship is different. But, for Lorna, Hector, and myself, it is a blessing to be able to be a member of the Everyday Club.

 Pat’s comments on “The Everyday Club.”

Ron: Pat, how important is it that I come every day:

Pat: Pretty damn important! It means he’s still there.

Ron: Anything else?

Pat:  I love you to bits.

 Added note: Ironically, I became ill the week before publishing this note and I’ve now spent three days in bed, tired and dizzy. Every time I think I am well enough to see Pat my daughter Cindy warns me against going too soon; she wants me to rest longer, and she doesn’t want to risk transmitting whatever I have to Pat.  I know she’s right, but I am definitely not enjoying this “break.” Pat and I have done Facetime on our phones to stay connected, but that link only lasts a few minutes at a time.

          I’d rather be dizzy in love than dizzy in bed.