“Where words leave off, music begins.” ― Heinrich Heine
Another shift as a “caring companion”. This time it was with Janice, a woman who resides in assisted living. Her mind is fine; it’s her body that is failing her, and she needed a ride to a doctor appointment. As soon as she let me in to her apartment, the phone rang. She had a heated discussion with the kitchen downstairs, I think. Something about once again the meal she ordered had not been delivered on time. She hung up in a huff.
So, let’s just say this encounter did not start on a peaceful note. After getting her coat on and assembling her needed items into a bag, I pushed her in her wheelchair to my car. One look at my car, and that was it. There was no way she was going to get into an SUV; she just could not do it. “Find something in your car that I can stand on, because I cannot reach that seat.” Not only did I have nothing (short of a stack of recyclable shopping bags) to throw on the ground, but my car is not an SUV!
I tried to talk to her in peaceful tones. I did not point out that my car was not an SUV. I took kind of a cheerful upbeat tone, “Well, let’s give it a try. We might be surprised.” As she stood and (quite easily) eased herself into the car, she said, “I am having a bad day.” I said, “Well, from now on it will be a good day.” I had my doubts.
Truth be told, I was starting to have a bad day. Her bad mood was contagious, and I was feeling anything but peaceful. But because I am working on PEACE this week, I decided to give her a peaceful ride. I said, “It sounds like that phone call had you really upset.” She said, “I don’t want to talk about it. It just makes me feel so bad.” OK, so talking it out would not give her peace. I asked her about her beloved cat, the one I had read about in the agency’s notes. Turns out she no longer had the cat; her son now has it, and she is none too happy about that, and she was really tired of “you guys always asking about the cat. I told them I don’t have her anymore!” Strike two. I turned on the radio. 107.9. This station plays nothing but Christmas music from Thanksgiving to Christmas. Janice said, “Don’t turn the radio on for me.” I told her it was for me, as by now, it certainly was. On comes James Taylor, singing, “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”. I dare you to feel agitated listening to that song.
And indeed, Janice started to mellow. And I started to mellow. PEACE reigned in the car.
Have yourself a merry little Christmas,
Let your heart be light
From now on,
our troubles will be out of sight – lyrics by Ralph Blane