A Love Letter That Will Never Be Delivered.

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Vera will never read this letter. She is moving out of our community very soon and into a nearby one.

I know that you aren’t supposed to have “favorites” in senior living communities. That is just impossible, though. It is impossible to avoid connecting with your residents, even if those residents have moderate to advanced dementia.

Vera,

I miss you already. I wish that I could tell you how much I will miss you once you leave. You don’t know that you’re going to be moving soon, and it is not my place to tell you.

You don’t know my name, but you know who I am. At least, I feel that you do. You remember me. I love your stories about growing up in the 1920s and 30s. You’ve taught me a lot. I love that you always sit on the same spot on the same couch, waiting for me to bring you your newspaper in the morning.

You have so much fun on outings, and you always thank me when you exit the bus. I know that Alzheimer’s disease affects your mood at times, but you are always kind, caring, and funny.

When you felt sick I was very, very worried. I sat beside your bed holding your hand. When you returned from the hospital, I was relieved.

You look after your roommate in the way that a woman would protect her younger sister. You always want to be involved in programs throughout the day, and I can always count on you to get excited about exercise, putting a puzzle together, or baking cookies.

I had just found out you were moving and I was hurrying to my office so that no one would see me upset.

You saw me at my door and said,”There’s my sweetheart!”

I managed a sad but grateful smile and ducked into my door.

I didn’t want you to see me cry.

Love, the blonde lady who brings you the newspaper.

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Rachael Wonderlin has a Master’s in Gerontology and is the author of two published books with Johns Hopkins University Press. She owns Dementia By Day, a dementia care consulting company.

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