"Tomorrow is our 6 month anniversary, you know", I said as I handed her a milano. "that's unique", she said sounding a little less than impressed. She spent most of the time I was there today sleeping so I had the opportunity to think some on the last 6 months of our lives. It is the eve of *our* anniversary after all...
When I knew she was moving back to Wisconsin, I already knew that I'd want to spend time with her and EAL (her daughter) had already been asking if I'd help with rotating for her. I had said yes but what did I know. I knew nothing of her or what taking care of her would entail. I really had no idea what I was getting myself into at all. And its probably a good thing that I had no idea what to expect with/of/from her...
She had arrived back in Wisconsin in early February, some time around the 7th I think, and for whatever reason I wasn't overly-motivated to meet her right away. February 25th. It was a day that I spent at a mineral point youth wrestling tournament and reading through my psychology textbook for most of the day. It did not seem like an important day in my life. My family and I had left home and I was reading/taking notes on "the theology of the body in hour" by Jason Evert. We went to get my sister from a friends house and I went in to get her. at the time this day was clearly not registering as a very important day in my brain as all my note book states is that I met her. She had her wheelchair jacked up with her legs sticking out, her head hung down and she didn't say much to me. We got in the car and I went back to my study.
February 27th. another typical day of State and Local Government class, 12:10 mass & prayer. It was a big day for me, my first day of teaching/helping teach Mrs KBL's grandchildren. What a treat! Mrs KBL, on our second day today, said these words over and over again as I read "Mr Putter and Tabby paint the fence." and went through lessons with the girls, "My mom always said if you know how to read, you will never be lonely." In the days ahead that I spent teaching, she'd be there telling me what to do or making suggestions. Sometimes I'd humor her and say, "is this how you'd teach your kids???" I tried to get to know her in those days and build a relationship with her but I didn't feel like the connection was really happening. about two weeks after we met she was in the hospital for a week. But, in these days, we mostly didn't have much to do with each other. I mostly concentrated on my teaching when I was at the house. but I did slowly begin learning how to meet her (many) demands and know what she means when she says things/what she wants.
I don't remember the day exactly and I couldn't find it in my notebooks. but, some day at the end of March, it was the day we were moving her into her new apartment and I wanted to stay to be a part of that. Lessons were done for the day and there were about 40 minutes there before we took off that I feel like were the first day that she and I were able to connect. at the apartment, I was the only person she would ask for "help" from. April 29th, Holy Thursday, was the first day after her being in her new apartment that I went to go visit her by myself for the first time. In my journal I state, "Today I had the great joy of visiting Mrs KBL this afternoon. I prayed a rosary (the joyful mysteries), the stations of the cross (the cathedral parish version), st Michael prayer, Guardian angel prayer & act of contrition with her...it was a really great experience for me and I feel like I have achieved everything. except, it happened, the glory days are over, she did not know who I was. Well, anyways, that was going to happen sometime...". Holy Saturday was my next attempt at visiting her and she kicked me out of the house. Those next few weeks I visited her every few days and tried to get her to know who I was/like me. It was hard. I really don't know why I kept going there. It's not like I ever questioned why I went there, I just went. Who know why I kept going. We said rosaries, blessed ourselves with her relics, and watched Andy Griffith in those days. Those were the days when things would fall a part and she would come completely unglued often. Yet I was still thinking of ways to spend time with her and what books I could read with her. Hardly any days were a success in those days. But constant repetition on my part paid off as the month of April came
to a close, she would be excited to see me every time we saw each other,
she'd hug me when I went & tell me to come back soon. We some how became friends. Then, my
family and I went to Italy for 2 weeks in May. Every morning I'd wake up
in a panic completely worried that she'd forget about me and every
night I worried that I would have to do all that work again. I agonized
and stressed and was anxious the whole trip. We come home late on a
Saturday night-sadly too late to visit her. I saw to it that all my
affairs were in order and went to bed. That morning I had the surprise
of going to Mass where she goes. When we got to mass, I raced over
before mass even started, hugged her and looked at her so she could look
me over. "You're back." she said and she beamed. My heart nearly burst
and I cried. She remembered me! Nothing mattered after that! That was
the happiest Sunday mass ever! After the Italy trip, I increased the amount of times I'd visit her. We began doing more things and I'd take her places. Some time at the beginning of June is when you could say, the rest is history, because now, we are the bestest of friends. Look at us now! Our outings, our many hours together at her house, and my excitement to spend more time with her. We really our best buds, her and I. And I am so very glad that we are and so grateful for our most treasured relationship. I am excited for our future adventures & I hope that we have many more!