I work at an adult foster home. Since I have been here, I have worked with about 12 different people.I have been able to connect with some pretty good people, whether resident or their families. But I want to talk about Charlie. I have changed his name for privacy reasons.
Charlie came to us just over a year ago. November 2, 2015, to be exact. One week after his birthday. He had been a local pharmacist for 50 years or so and loved his work. Toward the end of his career, Charlie began to show symptoms of dimentia. Soon, he would begin to have seizures, which would eventually leave him speechless. Oh, he could say a few things, but it was very much like talking with cotton in your mouth and he would not be and be to complete the thought.
Charlie had this look about him that said he loved life and was a very happy man. Often I would catch him just staring outside as if lost in thought. He smiled all the time because that was all he could do to let you know what he was thinking or that he was willing to be cooperative with what you asked him to do.
His eyes were full of expression. Many times when I would talk to him about things, those eyes would just fix on me and what I was saying. Charlie really was interested in what I had to say. I felt he wanted to talk back so many times, but because of his illness, he was unable to. So, he would simply smile very big, gaze at me, and on his better days, I would hear him say, “yeah,” or “ok.”
One day I could see he was having a rough time. I knew he was having a struggle not being able to at least talk and tell us how he was feeling. I decided to pray with him and when I finished, he had been wiping the tears from his eyes. I knew that meant a lot to him.
Charlie almost always gave me a hard time when it came time for his meds. toward the end of his road, and many times throughout his stay here, he would fight taking his pills. It was as if a little kid was refusing to cooperate with a doctor or a nurse. A lot of times, I would have to disguise the pill in order to put it in his mouth. But Charlie was not dumb. He would grab your hand just before you got the spoon of applesauce or pudding to his mouth and look at it as if making sure it was safe. Sometimes, I would give him a pain pill and instead of swallowing it, Charlie would either keep it in his mouth and let it dissolve or he would chew it up. I’ll never know how he could tolerate that bitter taste.
I learned something from Charlie during the few months he was with us. Learn how to love life and enjoy it. Love your family and love them huge.
When Charlie passed, I was upset. I knew it was happening, but I didn’t want to accept it. He reminded my of my own grandpa with that twinkle in his eyes. Charlie left behind his wife and two grown kids, and his mother in-law. The kids live in different cities, but his wife and mother in-law still live here locally. They are a very special family. Whenever I visit them, they are so very gracious and kind. Charlie’s son looks just like him. The last time I saw Tim (name changed), I thought I was looking at his dad. I almost choked up.
I will always remember Charlie and the joy he was for me.