I held Ingrid’s hand as we walked down the hallway to her room. Ingrid did not speak much, and when she did, her sentences were short and simple.
I was not sure how much she understood, but it was always easy to coax a smile out of her.
Ingrid was pleasant and peaceful. Most days, Ingrid spent her time picking up objects from one room and taking them to another. Her own room was a treasure trove of lamps, stuffed animals, and anything else she found interesting.
Ingrid was able to toilet mostly without assistance, but she needed cueing. I helped her get to the toilet and helped her get her pants down. She used the bathroom, and then I helped her move to the sink.
I turned on the water and she began doing the same thing she’d been doing for decades: washing her hands with soap and water and looking at her own face in the mirror. She finished up and I handed her a towel to dry her hands.
Ingrid continued to look quietly at her own reflection.
“What do you think, Ingrid?” I asked, pointing to the mirror.
She gave a short laugh. “Pitiful,” she said.
“Pitiful?” I repeated. “Why pitiful?”
“My hair…is old,” she said, with a small smile of acknowledgement, now looking down at her shoes.
“I think it looks beautiful,” I smiled back.
Ingrid gave another quick, jovial laugh and finished drying her hands. She turned from the sink and walked out of the bathroom with me by her side.