Long before I was a hospice RN I was a home health aide. I was caring for a 92 year old woman who had lived a great deal of her life in Italy and later came over to live with her daughter. Her English was broken but we bonded as we spent time together. I would bathe her, dress her and make her breakfast sitting with her trying to discover who she was beneath the wrinkles. I knew she had lived a long rich life and I wanted her stories….
She loved to watch television and her son in law had a black box that allowed for every channel imaginable, she adored cooking shows especially ones that featured Italian cooks, “Malto Mario” was her favorite. So after breakfast I turned on the television, but what came on left me entirely off guard, there in living color on the 60” set was two people making passionate love, no details left to the imagination, embarrassed I giggled to myself…but before I could change the channel to the safer passion of cooking she said without missing a beat, “Ah yes! I remember that!” This made me laugh out loud but she began to cry. I was baffled. This image had triggered a memory of her younger days, of love and passion and starting a family. She then shared with me that she had had a “Beautiful little girl, Angela. She was so pretty…” her eyes were far away as her heart unraveled the love of the memory, “She died, she got a fever, she was two. I miss her.” I held her, rocked her and let the tears flow. It had been over 60 years since she lost her child and I realized then how sacred the bond between mother and child was.
The heart never forgets the ones we love, no matter how old the body gets.