When Al got off the bus tonight I wasn’t greeted with the usual smiles. The hand that is common to see raising half-way to wave to me was resting in his lap.
As the bus driver was lifting him down the ramp, she had to remind him to lift his feet, which he did with great effort.
Once I got him inside I took him to his usual spot. I sat him at the head of the table and told him this was the king’s seat. No smile for that funny comment either. I read the communication book from Day Program. It stated that Al was very tired today and didn’t participate like he usually does.
There was a knock at the door and I was right in the middle of preparing our supper. Al did manage to get out a soft word, knock. I went to the door and it was the Medical Supplier. He was delivering briefs, liners and pads for Al.
I always have to sign that I received them and while I had the pen in hand, the gentleman glanced in Al’s direction. He then commented, ” I see he is napping.”
I sort of chuckled but there is always this tiny part of me inside that wants to become a smart-ass, but I bite my tongue. I have no reason at all to be a snippy gal. I get on the defense I think and it is wrong. I wanted to say, “hey dummy, you work for a company delivering for the sick and dying. What’s wrong with you, can’t you see he is sick?” But instead said, “no, he is sick. He struggles to hold his head up.”
The delivery man looked at me, and then a way. I signed and he disappeared to his next house.
Al had trouble eating. He couldn’t hold his silver ware, and he was taking more than one bite at a time. I helped him eat because he was saying, “stupid tremors, stupid being sick. I don’t know why it has to try to destroy me.”
I wanted to rescue him before he got to the point of tears. I remembered back when my children were small and sad. I offered them the good stuff. Ice-cream with chocolate syrup. It did work. he ate that right up and even tried licking the bowl.
It seems that our Mother’s great efforts to teach us good table manners has pretty well left Al’s mind. He eats with his fingers or how ever he can get the bites of food into his mouth. Tonight I had to wash his hair after supper. He had mashed potatoes in it. I think they must have been flipped by the tremoring hands.
I tried several times to start a conversation, but the ghost remained seated in Al’s seat. He has not really said anything to me thus far except,”I want to take a nap.”
I used to watch the big movie called Ghost Busters when it was popular, did you watch it also? It is cute and I loved the big Marshmallow Man.
With working in so many Nursing Homes throughout my years, I have heard numerous stories about ghosts and spirits remaining behind. I never heard of any stories where the spirit or ghost was out to scare people.
Many times I heard that spirits left something behind to warn staff of another soul getting ready to go to heaven. I do remember very well two things about one place I worked. It was a huge nursing home and very old.
In fact, the owners of the building are buried outside on the front lawn under a huge monument in their honor. But inside the building, were many wings. There is a tunnel going under ground that used to be part of the original building. You can still see the undisturbed torches still hanging on the walls as you walk through.
When I worked there the tunnel led you to the laundry area. But to get there you had to pass the newly added church and bank for the residents. One time when I was going through here I was scared out of my pants.
I always worked third shifts at most places and of course if anything is going to happen third shift would be the one it would happen on. It was quiet in the tunnel. The only lights that were lit were the new electrical lights in the hallway.
Somehow I unfroze my legs and scurried like a scared mouse to the laundry room. When I returned to my work floor I told the other aides about what had happened and they had a good laugh on me as they had also experienced this.
The other strange thing that happened was the smell of Cherry Tobacco. There was once a long-term gentleman who had resided there that smoked a pipe always filled with Cherry Tobacco. After he passed a way he would return. We always knew it as the strong odor of his pipe filled one particular room very heavily.
Within 24 hours the resident in that room passed a way. The story was that when ever you smelled the sweet smell of cherry, that resident would pass. I do know that this always seemed true, but was it? Or was it our own imaginations?
Now that Al has moved through his illness and is advancing thoughts of heaven, we hear strange things in our home. I found a blue feather in my bathroom one day last week. I know as well as I am sitting here, we have no birds in our house.
The baby monitor will pick up strange noises from Al’s room. Sometimes they are squelches like maybe picking up from other areas of outdoor noise. Sometimes I think I hear an actual voice like last week when something or someone said the word hush.
Other days I will hear nothing at all and then it will be very active for a couple of days. I have seen one pattern. When Al is having a really rough day with pain or the thoughts of why he can’t go to heaven yet, the noises sound once again.
Al swears it is Mom and I do remember also my daughter telling me sometimes that Mom was near her as she could smell her sweet perfume. Mom loved one perfume by Avon called Timeless.
If you have never smelled it before, in my opinion it is a very sweet smell. My daughter is never scared by this as she loved my Mom very much and I believe it brought her comfort. I have never had this experience with Mom, but the necklace I wore while I cared for our Dad, did appear in my hand, laid out nice and straight, during the middle of the night.
It didn’t scare me. I wondered how it got there but without thinking I knew it was some kind of sign from Dad and I just put it back on around my neck.
My question is this; are there spirits or ghost? Is our desire to see our past loved ones so strong that we visualize what isn’t there? If this is true, how did the necklace get out of the jewelry box and into my hand during the night? Is my daughter really smelling Mom’s perfume? Or does she miss her so much that she was imagined this?
What about Al? He tells me off and on that he speaks to Mom. He has told me that Mom tells him that she is saving a spot for him. One time when Al and I lived here in Indiana still, Al told me that he wanted to go to the cemetery to visit Mom.
I took him there. Now there is one thing I know that Al doesn’t. He has a spot reserved for him on the right side of Mom’s grave. Al doesn’t even know any of this. As we were standing in front of Mom and Dad paying our respects it is very quiet.
All of a sudden, Al looks at me and said, “Mom is patting the ground telling me that this is where I will be laying one day. She said this spot is mine.” I swear the hairs on my arms stood straight up as the place that Al pointed to on the empty grassy spot was exactly where Al will be laid to rest.
So what do you think? Is any of this real? Is there anywhere in the Bible that talks about humans and spirits? I tend to believe more in spirits myself verses ghosts. But yet, I don’t know what the Bible says all about this.
If any of you have experiences you would like to share with me, please feel free. If any of you have known scriptures of this topic in the Bible, please lead me to them. I guess I am asking because I know that Al is not going to get better, unless a miracle is performed. I just want to know what is going on inside our house.
What Is Going On Here????
What is going on that I can not see? I wish this was a story made-up in my mind, but I am afraid…
What is going on that I can not see? I wish this was a story made-up in my mind, but I am afraid this one is true.
It started a couple of days a go. It was quiet in the house that day. I didn’t even have the TV on. I was folding clothes from the dryer and the baby monitor was sitting right beside me. The only sounds I could hear was my own breathing.
Suddenly out of no where the monitor started going off. The hairs stood up on end on my arms. My arms froze in mid-air as I was folding a towel. My breathing stopped immediately as I leaned closer into the monitor.
I listened and it stopped. Oh good, I was just imagining this. My mind must be wandering.
Then it happened again. I forced my feet to walk towards Al‘s room where the other half of the monitor sat. I stood at his doorway and looked in all directions. I saw nothing, not even an ant crawling on the floor. I walked all the way into his room and opened the closet doors every so quietly. I guess I was expecting the big bad man to jump out at me. “BOO”, but nothing.
I left the room and rubbed my arms trying to get the hairs to settle down. I came out to the living room and sat down and turned the TV on immediately, not wanting to hear anything again.
The sounds were like big static noises, but kind of eerie sounding. Almost like in syllables but not recognizable in any way. I didn’t hear anything again, and had not until today.
I have been at my computer and the sounds reappeared. They are different this time. I can plainly hear them. It sounds like someone is whispering or speaking or something. It comes and goes.
Actually this has been going on for about an hour now. I walked into his room with more courage this time but did not open the closet doors. I looked around much braver but ended up going back to my chair.
As I write it sounds like someone or something is saying hush, hush, and then I will get a big static sound. Something is going on here. I now feel like I am not alone and yet I can see no one. I know you think that I have probably gone wacky, but the more I am typing about it, the louder it gets. It isn’t stopping. What is going on here?
Kellie has given me the opportunity to write this exercise, and I want to thank her for opening my mind.
When it comes to empathy, I feel like I live it without realizing it. Taking care of others is a very rewarding job. You connect with their feelings, you gain the understanding of how they feel and you see what is important to them at this time of their life.
I have to be able to climb out of my skin and enter my brother’s soul. It reminds me of the scene in the movie Ghost, where you actually see a film, ghost-type entering and exiting Whoopie Goldberg’s body.
I plan doctor’s appointments, take my brother to all of the appointments, talk with each doctor, and make changes with medications and goals, in order to keep Al feeling his best.
I am constantly thinking of ways to help his day have moments of joy and laughter. We go shopping, that includes only his interests. We go to eat at restaurants, trying to go where he enjoys going.
I clean the house, do his laundry, change his bed sheets, cook his meals, pay his bills, all parts of our daily life skills are practiced here.
Then there are the times in between, when I have to enter his mind, his soul, and his pains. I have to stop my own mental thinking, and imagine what he is going through. Understanding where the tears are stemming from. Imagine how his pain feels. Feel his humility when his body freezes, and help him to walk once again. I have to understand how it feels to try to use a fork or a spoon, to eat, something we have done our entire lives, but now, it becomes a struggle to keep food on the utensils.
Empathy is comprehending that it is alright for him to curse or get mad when food falls to the floor, and he realizes it. When Al wet his pants the other day, I had to instantly transfer myself into his mind, and feel what he felt when he was forced to walk out of the restaurant bathroom and show me his wet pants.
When Al yells at the newscasters on the TV for showing the weather more than once. He calls them idiots, or stupid. He doesn’t understand the aspect of how they show it twice so that more audiences can catch the weather. His mind is simplified, and I need to get inside to understand this and to be able to say something to him, that brings him to the realization, that I get what he is saying.
Dealing with all of these illnesses that are in one body, is a challenge. If this were a job being paid by an employer, I would not be paid too many times, because it is difficult and tests every part of our being. I think this type of work tests the nerves and can cause much stress.
You have to have a heart, compassion and empathy to enter this type of work. It takes transferring your thoughts into their thoughts, the skill of listening, and the passion for understanding. For me, I would not trade it for the highest paying job in the world, and I would not miss out on each day my brother lives. I want him to know that I love him, that I am here for him and that I do my best at understanding his views in life.