The Compliment

This past weekend, Steve and I and his brother and my sister-in-law paid a visit to Steve’s parents at Brightview, in the memory care unit where they live. We always know the visits will be eventful, made so usually by the one resident who doesn’t actually need memory care, my father-in-law Tom Wiley. He has all the other stereotypical markers of an old man, deaf, crabby, filterless and wheelchair bound, but his memory and his brain are ridiculously in tact.  Anyway, he was tame on this visit.

Saturday featured the Winter Ball for the residents.  They had terrific music, good food, a coffee cart complete with booze, and lots of visitors. As usual, we visited with Steve’s parents and his Aunt Joan. Joan suffers from Aphagia and though she is often chatty, we rarely have any idea what she’s talking about. As you can imagine, this can be a source of frustration for memory care patients as they don’t recall that Joan has Aphagia from one moment to the next, and therefore a source of frustration for Joan. On this particular day, I left my in-laws to wander over and say hello to Joan who was sitting with another resident. Her companion was intently making conversation with Joan and seemingly enjoying Joan’s company. It was lovely. And Joan seemed happy, content. And as I sat down next to Joan, said hello and gave her a kiss, this companion looked at me, smiled, and said, “Well aren’t you a nice looking young man!”

“Thank you,” I replied, grateful for the much-need boost to my confidence. After all, she’d called me young!

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