Hello! This blog is mostly to share my creative work and other creative work that inspires me, but in the spirit of the New Year and as I’ve been reflecting on this year I feel led to share an experience that has brought more good then I anticipated going into it. Isn’t that always how it happens?! 😉
This is my friend Jean (pictured above). She is moving to be closer to her family. I met her in July. A church friend was going out of town and asked me to visit Jean while she was gone. I had no experience with companion care before and going into it I didn’t think it would have such an impact on me, but reflecting on this experience, this part-time job, I’m realizing it did have a big impact on me. I started doing this for the money. As a recent college graduate, trying to figure myself out, pay off student loans, and get a creative career going I started doing this only for the money. Eventually, I realized how much Jean and this experience was making an impact on me because fairly quickly this part-time job was not about the money anymore. 2019 was rough, but because of Jean the last 6 months have helped me become a better person. I learned a lot and I’d like to give you a little inside look at what I’ve been reflecting on.
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched-they must be felt with the heart.” -Helen Keller
This quote rings true. It’s been so nice to get to know Jean and to realize that age has nothing to do with friendship and love. Jean and the companion care experience taught me that I can be caring, kind, honest, loyal, and patient with someone and with something.
Whenever I would go visit Jean, everyone would ask if I was her granddaughter, but I would just smile and tell them that I’m just a friend. I got to explore and marvel in the vulnerability of one person. I got to connect to the different ways love shows up…in me. Divine Inspiration would guide a conversation or activity. Divine Intuition would kick in when it was time to be more of an older sister and help Jean in ways that required a little bit more hands-on work, like helping her get into bed, or helping her to the dinner table.
I never thought I’d be present or quick to say “I love you” to someone I was just getting to know, and at the time, I never thought I’d say it to anyone old enough to be my grandmother. However, looking back on the hours I recorded, I realize that it was not too soon to say those words, and that her age was irrelevant, and that I wasn’t lying when I said those words. I had gotten to know her over the course of 6 months and I visited at least twice a week for an hour! The thing that caught me off guard more than hearing myself say “I love you” was hearing Jean say it back, as she looked me in the eyes.
It was pure connection of one soul to another sharing and holding space with one another. Those moments would break through and overpower any other blip of confusion or loss of memory she might have encountered because as she looked me in the eyes, with a sweet smile on her face I saw her truth that she is completely and undeniably a gorgeous reflection of Divine Love AND Divine Mind! Therefore I am too!
This experience came at such an interesting time, but in the end a perfect time. Jean had become a light in my life during one of the most isolating and lonely times of my life and I didn’t realize it until I started to process this experience.
On good days when I would go visit her and I’d let my family know where I was going I’d get a glowing, butterfly feeling inside, as I would say “I’m going to visit Jean”. She was a friend and a fellow human of the world who was lonely and isolated too. I was so glad I could be there for her and be there for the other residents too.
On bad days, days when self-loathing, fear, loneliness, and isolation seemed to be knocking me to the ground, going to visit Jean was a teachable moment from Divine Intuition, and in time a refuge. I would listen to her struggles or witness her challenges and realize that I am so lucky. I have so much to be grateful for.
In some ways Jean needed someone, a companion to help her, much more than I did, but now I see that I needed Jean just as much as she needed me. I needed a companion too. She became one and simultaneously I became one for myself. For many, many years I would fantasize and internally beg to be rescued by someone (because I grew up loving Disney maybe a little too much, ha-ha), but because I believed that I would always be inferior and worthless and that life was too mundane to be present in. I have now been shaken out of that dream through this experience, as a care companion. I’m no one special, but I’m more than loneliness, self-hatred, and dark clouds. I found a hero when I would go visit Jean and she worked overtime. That hero, to my great surprise, was me. I was a friend and helper to Jean, but I would without fail learn that “[…] blessed is that man who seeth his brother’s need and supplieth it, seeking his own in another’s good” (Science and Health 518:17).
After each visit, as I would walk to my car, I would reflect on the good I shared with Jean and the other residents. I would reflect on the strength it took me to get out of my head, and my house, and focus on someone else. I would realize how much good that did me and how much it helped Jean.
There is so much more to say, but it would be redundant. I’m in awe, humbled, and grateful. I’m going to miss Jean, but I wish her all the best as she get’s to be closer to loved ones!
“In everyone’s life, at some point, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” Albert Schweitzer
I’m thankful for Jean! ❤