Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The tiny monster grows up

9:48 p.m. Today's project was to attend a meeting of the Circle of Friends women business owners' group. They meet in Redlands, usually at the Somerford Place Alzheimer's and Assisted Living facility, which is lovely and well run (and serves good food, too)! Most of the members are in facilitation end of the care giving business, or consultants who help facility owners stay in legal compliance, or lead caregivers' training and support groups. We spoke at length about new possible breakthroughs in Alzheimer's care, and I even had a few minutes to speak privately to a few people about the "breakthroughs" we are seeing with Steve's new regimen of organic supplements. Like me, the members, which include a massage therapist and a touch therapist who both minister to hospice patients and their families, definitely lean more to holistic, natural methods to deal with illness.

Today our group was in for a treat, because our meeting served as an introduction to the community of Pacific Pines Manor, a new,  six-bed (pending 14) residential care facility on Pacific St., off of Sunset Drive. The tiny, narrow street is at a steep elevation, with arroyo views on either side.

While I was calling the meeting location [above] for directions, and took another glance at the address, I realized that my favorite teacher from Redlands High, English teacher Mrs. Alexandris (still "Mrs. A" to me), lives on the same block! I quickly called her, left a voicemail, gave dinner directions for soundly sleeping Steve, said goodbye to the caregiver, and took off for Redlands. How fun to obey the Word of God and "give honor to whom honor is due," Romans 13:7. And I do owe her honor, because she instilled in me a love for literature. She corrected my writing, settling for nothing less than perfection in mechanics, and excellence in style. Her high standards are with me to this day. In both casual and formal writing, Mrs. A's principles can be seen!

Mrs. A is 85, still teaches one home-to-hospital student twenty years after her official retirement! She's as funny as ever, calling me her "tiny monster" with the "brilliant brain" who finally grew up!
To her, I'm a young adult, ha ha!

I found Mrs. A standing on her driveway with the landscaper, a student she'd known in 1967, two yeas older than me. She asked me my name, then it kicked in and she gave me an excited hug. Like my dad, also 85, her memory goes off a little, but then the details come back. As we talked in her living room, she apologized for not remembering the details of all 5 of my children!  A widow without a family of her own, she marveled over my pictures of Clark, and the fact that I have two almost-grown grandsons, Adrian and Xavier.

We compared the way Steve was when we stopped in just before my 40th class reunion in 2009 and the way he is today with late-stage dementia. She couldn't get enough of hearing about the hopeful progress Steve is making on his natural supplements.  Mrs. A was also very absorbed in the writing process I'm using for my next book, a Christian family's response to dementia, and said, when I told her that I'm combing through journals for documentation, "Oh, you're very good at that!" I suppose teachers are like parents: their kids are just brilliant and extremely talented...

Well, praise be to God that Mrs. A's "tiny monster" of the late 60's did grow up, I've raised my family, and have much to show for the last 43 years. The key, for me, however, is my relationship with Christ that has infinitely overshadowed every other accomplishment in importance! With God,  the only thing that counts at the end of each human life is the answer to this question:

"What did you do about My Son?" 

And unlike Mrs. A,  God will gladly give you the answer to this test question ahead of time!

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