She wanted her mother to laugh. The she found a comic named Sue.
Dani wanted her mother Muriel to laugh. She had watched her becoming more and more bored and disengaged from life around her. And then she found Sue, a comic who wanted to work with seniors.
And with patience and genuine good humor, Sue made Muriel laugh…and take an interest in life again. But the most important thing, I think, is that their relationship was grounded in respect for Muriel as a whole human being.
Memories may fade, access to language may falter, and you may begin to think that the person you love is no longer there.
She left us long ago, I’ve heard people say. But if she left, who’s there?
I truly believe that, however dimmed or diminished a person may seem, the essence of who they are is intact.
Sue found the key through humor.
My friend Al took another route. His Aunt Lillian sat alone, downcast and silent, in her chair at the nursing home. Al lay on the floor with his face positioned directly in her line of sight. Then he smiled, his utterly joyous smile. After 20 minutes, Aunt Lillian, to the amazement of the nurses, suddenly spoke,
They spoke for nearly 20 minutes. He told her she had Alzheimer’s and how it was affecting her life. They spoke of the future—the good and the bad. That he loved her.
Thanks, I needed to know that.
And then, not unhappily, she withdrew.
It didn’t always work. Maybe she noticed him but chose not to respond, content to quietly bask in the splendor of his smile.
Here’s the story about Muriel and Sue – well worth reading.