Friday, February 17, 2012

Grocery Store Miracle Meeting cont...

I received an email a few days ago.  It was from Pat. Pat, the woman Chester and I met in the grocery store.   The woman who buried her face in Chester's soft fur and let the tears flow.  The woman who Chester smooched with kisses.  The woman we sat with on the floor, in the Christmas section.

Pat sent me an email, telling me that her husband had been in a severe accident, fracturing his skull.  He was home now, recovering.  Would we come for a visit?

Yesterday we knocked on Pat's door.  When the door opened, it was like long lost friends finding each other again. We hugged. Chester went a tad bonkers and smothered Pat with kisses. (I'm way glad she likes kisses)

"Daddy, I have a surprise for you," she said to her husband.  Her voice oozed with excitement as we kinda skipped down the hallway

We walked into the darkened bedroom, walker resting close to the bed, Ralph laying flat on the king sized bed watching TV.

"Oh My!" he exclaimed.

Chester, Ralph, and Pat were in too.  There we all were, laying/sitting on the giant bed for an hour. Chester moved between kissing Pat, getting tummy rubs from Ralph, and watching TV (Sean Connery riding horses across the desert).  Chester's favorite TV programs include shows come in second, maybe because they look like big dogs.  Sort of.

Anyways, that's what we did.  Just hung out together.

Ralph said it made his day and he was already feeling better.

I think we all felt the same way.

We prayed together before we left, asking God for His love and healing touch on Ralph, thanking Him for our new friendship and how He our crossed our paths at just the right moment.

I'm so thankful the Lord is so good at fitting the pieces together... and especially thankful He sits on grocery store floors in the middle of the Christmas rush & shares His love.

I Don't Like Good-Byes

I don't like good-byes.  The word sounds  Maybe that's why I especially appreciate the Hawaiian language so much ~  in Hawaiian good-bye sounds so much softer...aloha, meaning both hello & good-bye & may love and blessings be yours.  I like that.   Well ,today we needed to say aloha to Max and his Mom.

We've been working with Max for a few months in his home.  Max, little blond Max, a bright, amazing preschooler, who is faced with challenges of delayed speech and processing skills. Max and Chester bonded instantly,the two clearly having a connection right from the start. They played together.  They did follow the leader around the kitchen, dining room, living room loop. Max introduced Chester to new toys and cars and trucks. And, they just  enjoyed the boy & puppy-dog bond that comes with sitting on the floor together. Chester helped Max grow in language and social skills .  Max helped Chester begin to overcome his umbrella-phobia.  Yup, the brave therapy dog thinks umbrellas are evil monsters. (Chester is making good progress....thanks to his buddy Max!)

As I said, this was our final session with Max. For a variety of reasons, it was time for Chester and me to pass the therapy-baton on to another amazing  KPETS dog, Sam, (also known as Sam the Ham!). He's  a lovable Golden Retriever and a friend of Chester's :-).  Though we we were certain this was the best decision for all..........alohas & good-byes still are not easy.

When our session was finished, we sang our good-byes,"Good-bye Max, good-bye Max, good-bye Max, it's time for us to go."  Max patted Chester, while Mom and I were dripping tears down our cheeks. Hugs were given all around, encouragement and hope and sadness all mingled together.

And then.... The most amazing thing happened.

Max spoke..... He really did!!!!

Max said, "Buh Buh," to Chester for the very first time.

As I said, I'm not too fond of  "bye"............but I tell you, in that moment it was the sweetest sound to my ears.  Oh my.

And on that note, we walked out the door.  May love and blessings be yours sweet Max.  Have fun with Sammy ~~~ he will be another wonderful doggy to fill your heart and life with Golden Moments!

                                                                       ~ Aloha~

I love surprises..... this one came in snazzy suspenders!

Yesterday at Willow Valley we had a wonderful surprise.  Willard was sitting up straight and tall in his chair, dressed in white short-sleeved button down shirt, black pants, and snazzy suspenders.  He was awake and perky, teeth in place, and grinning from ear to ear!  

Earlier in the day Willard's comfy mattress had been replaced with a new one to prevent bed sores. Willard communicated to his nurses that he wasn't sure Chester would be able to jump up on this new bed. This IS a situation to be considered! So,  knowing it was Chester day, he decided to sit in his chair and wait for his 4-legged friend. When we rounded the corner & walked into the familiar room, Chester immediately looked at the bed, then to the chair, then smiled and said, "NO WAY!" (Ok, he didn't actually SAY No Way!  but he was thinkin' it, he was...) When Willared saw his buddy, he waved his arms and opened them wide.

What a difference from the first time we met. Way back when, in the summer months,  when Chester first trotted in to Willard's life, the room was dimly lit, and a man lay quietly, curled in bed.  Dory even had to wake him. Chester, without hesitating climbed up and nestled in. Willard made happy noises and stroked the soft fur. Thus our friendship began.

Today the room was bright with light, Willard was bright, and just felt... bright!  While Chester and Willard visited, Dory and I noticed how engaged and alert Willard was. ....And so we began to ask him questions about the framed mementos on the wall.  One by one we took them down.

The first one was a black and white aerial photo of homes,  out-buildings, and evenly lined farmland. He pointed.  "Home.  Greenhouse."  "Is this your family farm?" we asked him.   "Yes. My Father's. Home."  He then places his finger on some land adjacent to the large famhouse, "Road!"  Willard said.   "There's a road there now?" we asked.  He shook his head yes, seemingly not-too-happy about the progress that now divided his family's land.

Another picture, in sepia tones, of children in front of a brick school house.  He pointed to the little boy on the top step and said, "Me!"  We oohed and ahhed over what a handsome little guy stood in the back row!  Willard moved his finger to an older girl in the front row, adorned with blond curly pig tails and puffed sleeves, "My Sister!" he said.  "What's her name?" I asked.  "Margaret,"  Willard answered.  Three times he answered. Three times because I couldn't understand.  He is a very patient man. :-)

Next we pulled his certificate of honor off the wall.  "Purple Heart," he spoke, carefully touching  the words on this framed treasure.   "Were you in the war?" Dory asked.  Our brave veteran nodded ,Yes,  ...... It was clear he was thinking, remembering.  We waited, and sat quietly.

After placing the memories back in their proper places, Willard continued his visit with Chester.  I think Chester took at least a kazillion treats from these large, gentle hands.

When it was time to go, I gave Willard's hand a squeeze, while he patted Chester's head with the other.  "We will see you soon," I said.

Willard waved good-bye.

As we walked down the hallway towards the elevator, I went over and over the visit in my mind 'n heart.  There we were, on the Alzheimer's floor, the floor where memories are hard to come by.  We sat with a dear man, a man who remembered Chester's name and knew we were visiting today.  A man who spoke of his memories from long ago, of his sister, and his family farm, and his service to his country.

Who woulda thought today would be FILLED with so many wonderful memories .... & miracles :-)