My significant other (BBB) has a brother that is a quadriplegic and is living in a nursing care facility. Last Sunday, since my huge sewing project was done, we went there to visit for an extended period. (during the project we did visit, but it was brief if i was along)
During our visit, his brothers roommate died. He had liver cancer and had been delusional for the previous 3 days, calling BBBs brother "mom" and pinching his arm, thinking it was the call light. We knew it was only a matter of time, but it was interesting to have it happen when we were visiting.
On the up side, the firemen and aid units were called, so i got my fix of firemen. On the down side, this man was a person that brother had known for 6 years and was a perfect roommate for him.
Yesterday was the memorial service at the care facility. It appeared to me that this was the only memorial that was going to be held because there was a huge number of outside people that attended, with only a handful of residents, BBB, brother and i.
The thing that seemed "not right" was the fact that this huge group of people were there moaning and wailing about the loss of their loved one and in all of the time that they were roommates, there were only two people that BBB and i had seen, and brother had only seen 4 visitors. (and if you are gonna miss him so *damn* much now that he's died, where the f$ck were you during the last 6 years?)
BBB and i had provided hot sauce, some food stuffs and sodas for the roommate, because his family very rarely visited. He was always grateful and paid us for things that he specifically requested. We also provided little "extras" as presents to him.
His daughter was in charge of the memorial, and made a great point of thanking brother and family (us) for all the support given. She also took the time to thank us personally, for all our help to her father. She didn't visit as often as she wanted to, because she was away at college, but he was very proud of her for that accomplishment.
His sister thanked us, saying that everytime she talked to her brother, he was always telling her what BBB and i had done for him or brought to him.
His twin brother said, "I thank God that you are around to take care of your brother and mine." (good thing, since you couldn't be bothered)
His younger brother said "I can see why nobody ever messed with you." (referencing BBB's sheer size and presence. he is well known around the facility for making things "happen" for the residents)
Watching all of this made me think about my family and the patterns that i personally had with my family. And the fact that since BBB and brother were reconnected, we have made a point of visiting at least twice a week, sometimes both of us, sometimes only BBB. On those rare times where we don't visit, we are in touch via the telephone.
I can really understand people being uncomfortable with nursing care facilities. Hell, *i'm* not overly fond of them and i spend a couple of hours a week at one, besides the times that my choir performs in them.
It's just a very sad statement that two strangers should end up having to take care of someone, merely because they have become friendly during visits with their own family member.