I'm not sure where to start exactly. The month of May took me by surprise and the stories I've witnessed and been a party to are not for the faint of heart. Kind of like growing older as I hear it said. Most of those involved in the stories are over age eighty and some days it feels like herding cats.
I'll back up a bit. Sometimes you make the best of plans, for the right intentions. You plan, advise the parties involved and take action. All was well on the Tennessee front but the New Jersey contingency had gone off course. They had in fact left the building. One on a stretcher. Seems he thought, "go clean out your closet and make a trip to the Salvation Army" meant, go up into your garage attic and proceed to fall on your head, face first on the hood of your car. I'm talking the hubs parents.
We diverted to New Jersey. We had a go round with nurses, physical therapists and a doctor who looked at mine and said, "Well, you are the surgeon, what do you think? You should be telling me." Wait... no, that's not how this is supposed to work. He gets to be son, you be doctor. That's the deal. We came to an understanding and we headed South, with Jersey girl in tow.
Doing a bit of research before leaving for the Garden State we had established a place of respite for Jersey Girl upon our return. We needed a place that offered safety, kindness, and some fun. Fun can be lost as one grows older. Sometimes the mind tricks us into worry over what we forget or confuse. Car keys, money, siblings who have long passed on can all add to confusion and make us fearful. We wanted to fight that as hard as we could.
We spent a week at our home in Tennessee acclimating. I've come to learn acclimating at this age can take years not days. I get it. We took Jersey girl with us everywhere. We spend our weekends and evenings demoing our new, old house. It's loud, hot, dusty and I have poison ivy on 49% of my body. I look like I lost a fight with a barn full of cats.
Jersey Girl came with us, ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, reminded the dogs to behave... over and over and... over. She swept the floors and talked about what a lovely house it is. I giggled as it is anything but lovely right now, but her kindness radiated through the cloud of drywall dust concealing the floor. The reality of upstairs bedrooms, a house just on the market and 24/7 care needed pushed us to do the uncomfortable but responsible. God pointed us in the right direction after a local call out to friends. We hit the jackpot or Godpot?! It is still ever easy.
I call her Jersey Girl because of CJ. He works at Jersey Girl's new home. The first day he heard her speak he knew she was not a Southern belle. She is proud of her Jersey roots and she told him so. He nicknamed her and it fits well. Everyday she introduces us to CJ... and the staff. Everyday.
I looked at CJ, and said, "You've seen Ground Hog Day, right?" I should have said Fifty First Dates, but he knew what I meant. He laughed hard.
I'm finding beautiful things among the hard. CJ is one of them. I don't know his story, not yet. He is a tall young man with a beautiful smile that he shares easily. He has a story of tattoos I get a glimpse of on his neck and arms. Some day I will ask after we build trust. He works hard and is ever so gentle with these (mostly) ladies, that can try even an angel's patience some days.
CJ and Jersey Girl would not cross paths if not for this sweet place. CJ makes life fun for these ladies. He helps whisk away their fears, at least for the moment. This truth is not lost on me and I thank him everyday when we say goodbye.