Laurie and Jane

Keep it Real Wednesday

September 15, 2021

Laurie and Jane

People often tell me I am such a good daughter for caring for Rosemary 24/7. I believe that’s up for debate. I think we all try to do what we can. 

Has it been easy caring for an elderly family member 24/7 in our home as they inch closer and closer to the end of their life? Heck no. Not at all easy. But I am not alone on my caregiver journey.  There are many of us.  Today I am going to tell you about one.

Her name is Laurie, and she is around my age.   Her Mom’s name is Jane, and she is about Rosemary’s age.  

They have a tender love story.

A few years ago, Laurie and I met at church. One day our eyes locked as she was helping her mother and I was helping mine.  Without saying a word, we formed a bond.  Soon afterwards, our mothers became friends and found great joy in “playing chicken” with their walkers together before and after services, which would create many smiles throughout the congregation.  Then one day, Laurie and I met for coffee and became friends.

Jane had moved in with Laurie after Jane’s husband passed away, similarly to Rosemary moving in with us after my Dad passed.

My Mom has remained with us.  Laurie was unable to keep Jane at home with her due to Jane’s complications with dementia.

That’s not where the love story ends, that is where it starts.

The process of finding a place to properly care for Jane was excruciating for Laurie but she found a place about 10 miles from her home.  Jane was admitted during the peak of COVID when Jane had to be isolated in a room for 2 full weeks before she could interact with other residents and staff.  In order to make it easier for Jane, Laurie isolated with Jane on a cot in her room for 2 full weeks so she wouldn’t be alone.   

Since that time, Laurie visits Jane EVERY DAY.  Literally EVERY day.  And she has been doing this since the day she was admitted.  10 miles to the nursing home, 2 hours of a visit and 10 miles back home.  Every.  Single. Day.  And she does this without notice, without complaint, without notoriety.  She does it with LOVE.

During the times when the nursing homes were in isolation and visitors were not permitted, Laurie would sit outside her mother’s room in all kinds of weather and talk on the phone through the window, just to speak to her on the phone and see the whites of her eyes.  

On these daily visits, Laurie brings Jane treats. Sometimes it is her homemade favorites like freshly cooked tapioca, which she knows Jane loves, or maybe a fancy coffee from her favorite coffee shop.  Sometimes Laurie has to dig deep as she musters a smile just for her Mom as her own heart is heavy.    As Jane’s dementia advances, Laurie continues to remain ever patient and kind as she listens to the same stories again and again with love.  

Laurie is one of the 34 million caregiver heroes in our country. Her love story with her Mom is tender, raw and real.   

Yes, what Rosemary and I have is something special and I am grateful for this journey with her.  Without being her care provider, I would not have had the desire to get a bike, the blessing bike was born, etc.….

But we are not alone in our love.

Today, I would like to honor people like Laurie and the love she demonstrates for her mom every single day.

(pictured:  Laurie outside of Jane’s window for a visit during COVID lockdown)

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