This week has been a very difficult week for the Barton family. Elbert and I have been married 58 1/2 years. A long, long time. And, this week I moved him into Magnolia Manor, into the memory wing. Hard decision and a heart breaking one.
Daughter Susan (the baby of our family) flew down from New York and the night before the move she and her Dad sat at the dining room table looking at an album of pictures and stories about a trip the three of us made to Europe 18 years ago (when things were wonderful and we thought they always would be). The next morning (Tuesday) we left the house and headed for Smithfield. Here is Susan and Tammie (the sitter) helping Elbert out to the car.
But.... first.... we had lunch together to celebrate Shirley's birthday. Her birthday is Sunday and she wanted to share her birthday with her Dad.
A picture with our hands all joined in support and solidarity. Grandson Christopher (who is left handed and has to sit where he doesn't elbow his lunch neighbor) was at the end of the table and you about can't see him.
Elbert and me at lunch.
Susan feeding her Dad some of her lunch.
We left the restaurant and drove over to Magnolia Manor. All of us walked down the hall to his room and he went in, sat down in his rocking chair and was soon taking a nap. Guess lunch wore him out.
After a short nap we heard him singing an old 50s tune under his breath. Can't remember now what it was. We asked him how he liked the room and he said he liked it, it was a very nice room. He didn't seem stressed, seemed more at home than we imagined he would. Then it was time to leave. The director said she'd bring a gentleman down from the assisted living wing to talk to Elbert while we left so it wouldn't leave Elbert so alone. The man had been military and also a school teacher just like Elbert. So, we said our goodbyes.
The next morning (yesterday/Wednesday) the director called. She had called from her home back to Magnolia Manor two or three times during the night to check on her newest resident. And, she reported he had a good night, ate a big breakfast and was in exercise class when she called me.
Later in the day Susan wanted to go by and see her Dad before she left this morning early to go back to NY and her family. She and Shirley visited him for awhile. I elected not to go in with them as I felt three was a crowd and might be overwhelming to him. So, I sat in the lobby and ran into the head nurse who reported some great news. The head nurse said that this morning as she walked down the hall she saw him outside his room so she went to him, helped him put his shoes on and took him to breakfast. Later in the morning he went with the rest of the residents out into the courtyard where they talked, sang songs and had juice. She says he's learning his way around, has learned who are the talkers and who won't talk to him and he acts like he has been there months and months, not just two days.
That report just lifted a huge burden off my shoulders. He is happy, he is doing more than he would do for me. OH.... and when the girls went down to see him he was watching an old Clark Gable movie. He's already picked out a favorite chair to sit in when he goes into the common room where the group gathers for activities and tv watching. I am so thrilled that the transition is going so well and that is making my transition so much easier. He always was a sweetheart... he still is.