Sunday, 4 January 2015

Stay a While

Jason Haldis, the hitman, knew his friend Hermione McEwen was a woman with an impressive reputation for being able to infiltrate an organisation and obtain important information without being detected. He had worked with her from time to time and she was always wonderfully reliable.

Hermione rang Jason and asked for them to have lunch together. It was something they had done many times before and of itself, it was not a controversial request. However Jason thought there was something a little unusual in the voice of Hermione when she made her request. Jason agreed to have lunch with her and wondered if there was any news she wanted to share with him.

The Sustenance Café
Twenty (20) minutes later they met at the Sustenance Café. Hermione appeared happy, but Jason could see something was troubling her. She waited until after their food arrived before she told Jason her concerns.

“My mother suffers from dementia and has done for several years. She is in a nursing home and receives good care. I visit her every Saturday. I read to her and where possible I talk with her. Recently her condition has deteriorated and it has become difficult for me to visit her alone. I was wondering if I could impose upon you to accompany me the next time I see her. The visit generally lasts about an hour. It is so sad to see my mother in that condition. I could use the support.”

Jason could see tears welling in the eyes of Hermione. He had never seen her like that before.

“Hermione, I never knew. Of course I will accompany you when you next visit your mother and I will spend as much time with you as you need. I will drive us there and back.”

“Thank you, Jason” Hermione replied.

Jason took her left hand in his hands and said to her, “It will be no trouble for me.”

After about fifteen (15) seconds Hermione removed her hand from the gentle grasp of Jason to wipe tears from her eyes.

Jason slowly withdrew his hands and put them on his lap.

“Do you read anything in particular to your mother?”, Jason asked.

Hermione: “Sometimes I read newspaper articles to her, sometimes magazine articles and sometimes I read parts of books to her. I am not sure if she understands what I say to her, but I hope it is useful in some way.”

Jason: “We shall do it together, Hermione.”

Hermione: “Thank you, Jason. I really appreciate it.”

Jason: “In fact, take your time this afternoon. I do not have to be anywhere. I can spend time with you now and I will turn off my mobile telephone so that it does not interrupt us.”

Jason then turned off his mobile telephone.

There were more tears from Hermione and through them she said, “It is as if my mother no longer exists; and I miss her so much. We used to have long conversations about everything. She knew what I did for a living. It did not bother her. She was supportive of me. Now even the most simple conversation seems impossible. It is heartbreaking and so unfair.”

Saturday 1
Saturday arrived and so did Jason at the house of Hermione. He knocked on her front door and when she greeted him, she could see that he was in good spirits.

“I am ready to go, Jason. I have got a bag of reading material, which should be more than enough for today. It is a short drive to the nursing home.”

Jason replied, “I will turn off my mobile telephone again, so we are not interrupted.”

Hermione: “I have already turned off mine.”

Hermione closed and locked her front door and she walked with Jason to his car.

The Nursing Home
When they arrived at the nursing home, Hermione introduced Jason to the staff who were assisting her mother. They seemed happy he accompanied Hermione.

Hermione then introduced Jason to her mother. Jason could see her mother recognised Hermione, but there was little or no recognition from her when he was introduced to her. That did not trouble Jason.

Hermione then began reading to her mother. It seemed to be going well for Hermione.

Jason saw two (2) other residents were playing Scrabble. He introduced himself to them and started playing Scrabble with them. He never really stopped watching Hermione. He could see the love for her mother in her eyes and he could hear it in her voice. Hermione wanted her mother to return from where dementia had taken her.

After a while Jason could see it was getting too much for Hermione, so he surrendered his Scrabble game and told Hermione he would gladly read to her mother.

“Thank you, Jason” she said.

“Mrs McEwan, With your help, today I am going to learn about patchwork quilt making. You be sure to tell me if I get any of this wrong.”

Jason then happily read to Mrs McEwan about patchwork quilt making. He had never previously gone near the topic, but that did not stop him. And from time to time he would interrupt his reading to ask Mrs McEwan questions.

“Are they doing it correctly in this article Mrs McEwan? Is this how you do it?”

Ms McEwan never answered Jason, but his presence and assistance made Hermione feel much better.

Perhaps in the future Hermione might discuss with Jason his foray into patchwork quilt making, but not today. Today she was very grateful for his support and assistance.

After about twenty (20) minutes of Jason reading to her mother, Hermione resumed the reading role and Jason was the supportive observer again.

The time visiting Mrs MacEwan passed relatively quickly and the hour Hermione had planned to spend with her mother had now passed. The goodbye was always difficult for Hermione and this occasion was no different.

After Hermione and Jason said goodbye to her mother, they walked to the car park together. Hermione had a firm grip on the left arm of Jason for the entire time. She was very grateful for his presence and support.

Jason Takes Hermione Home
When Jason took Hermione home from visiting her mother, he said to her, “Next Saturday we will all go to Sandgate. We can have fish and chips by the sea.”

Hermione: “Oh, Jason. Thank you. I am so grateful to you.”

Jason: “Absolutely no trouble, Hermione. If you ever want to talk to me about any of this, do not hesitate to contact me.”

Hermione hugged Jason. He kissed her left cheek and said to her, “I am going to go home now. Take care.”

Jason then walked to his car and drove home.

Saturday 2
It was Saturday again and again Jason arrived at the house of Hermione to take her to see her mother. Hermione greeted him in good spirits when he knocked on her front door.

Hats and sunscreen were the order of the day. Hermione told Jason neither of them were leaving her house until adequate sunscreen had been applied to them both. Jason knew better than to argue with Hermione on this topic. As Hermione was applying sunscreen to Jason, she said to him she had plenty with her, so that they could reapply it, if necessary, once they got to Sandgate.

Hermione then asked Jason to apply some sunscreen to her. He dutifully obeyed and said to her, “I have had worse tasks in my life”.

“When we get to Sandgate, you may get to put your hands on me again”, Hermione said to Jason with a smile.

At the cessation of sunscreen application duties, Hermione closed and locked her front door and she walked with Jason to his car.

Jason then drove Hermione to the nursing home, so they could take her mother to Sandgate.

When they got to the nursing home, the staff happily greeted both Hermione and Jason.

After greeting her mother, Hermione again introduced Jason to her.

She did not seem to recognise him, but that did not discourage him.

He greeted her with, “A change of scenery awaits you, Mrs McEwan. We are taking you to Sandgate, so you can have fish and chips by the sea.”

Hermione said to one of the staff members, “I think we have got everything we need. We plan to have my mother back here by 4:00 pm.  That should not interrupt your evening arrangements.”

The staff member replied, “That should be fine, Hermione. I hope you all enjoy your day out at Sandgate.”

Hermione held the arm of her mother as they walked with Jason to his car and she sat in the back seat with her mother as the three (3) of them travelled to Sandgate.

Sandgate
It was an uneventful drive to Sandgate. When they arrived Hermione again assumed her role as Officer-In-Charge of Applying Sunscreen. She started with her mother, then moved on to Jason. Both cooperated. Jason then returned the favour to Hermione.

Hermione held the arm of her mother as they walked along the Sandgate waterfront. Jason walked the other side of Ms McEwan. The tide was out and there was a lot of activity on the sand.

Mrs McEwan seemed to be rather interested in the young woman flying a kite. Hermione and Jason paused their walk for some time to watch the kite flying spectacle. They also encountered a beach soccer match, which seemed to entertain Mrs McEwan and a game of beach cricket, which she seemed to recognise.

A variety of people walked past Hermione, Jason and Mrs McEwan, some of them even said hello. However Hermione tried to keep conversation interaction between Mrs McEwan and the public to a minimum. She told Jason she thought that would be the least stressful approach. Jason accepted her assessment of the situation and assisted, where he could.

Hermione spotted a vacant sheltered bench across the road from a Fish and Chips shop. It also had an impressive view of the waterfront. Hermione and her mother sat there whilst Jason assumed the responsibility for ordering and purchasing their food.

It was an uneventful experience for Jason and he returned about twenty-five (25) minutes later with more than enough food and drink for them all.

Hermione monitored Mrs McEwan closely as she ate her food. Fortunately the meal of Mrs McEwan proceeded without controversy. Jason and Hermione both enjoyed their meals and Jason remarked favourably about his two (2) or three (3) times.

Both Jason and Hermione talked to Mrs McEwan as they ate their meals, even though she did not seem to understand what was being said to her.

When they had completed their meals, the three (3) of them walked slowly back to the car of Jason. Along the way the beach soccer and cricket matches continued to entertain Mrs McEwan.

The Nursing Home
Jason then drove them back to the nursing home and they were greeted by a happy staff member shortly before 4:00 pm.

For Hermione saying goodbye to her mother was not as difficult on that occasion as it was the preceding Saturday.

Once Hermione and Jason had said goodbye to her mother, one of the staff members took Mrs MacEwan and happily said to her, “You will have a lot to tell your friends over dinner this evening. I am sure they would love to hear all about your trip to Sandgate with your daughter and her friend.”

Before Hermione and Jason left several nursing home staff thanked them.

Jason said, “It was no trouble.”

Jason Takes Hermione Home
Jason then walked to the car park with Hermione and drove her to her house.

Along the way Hermione said to Jason, “Thank you for everything you have done today. I really appreciate. It seems the staff at the nursing home are impressed with our efforts.”

Jason replied to Hermione, “I did not do it for a fuss to be made of me. I did it because you are my friend.”

When they arrived at her house, Jason walked Hermione to her front door and she asked him to come in for a cup of tea. He accepted. He could see her spirits had lifted from when they had lunch together at The Sustenance Café and Hermione told Jason for the first time that her mother was suffering from dementia.

Hermione made them both tea and they chatted about the adventure to Sandgate with her mother. She was clearly happy about what they had done.

Hermione said to Jason, “I do not need you to come along every time I see my mother, but I am very glad you came when you did. I think today was good for both my mother and me.”

Jason could see Hermione was happy. It was a pleasant sight for him.

He told Hermione, “I will happily go with you to visit your mother, if you feel you need support. It will be no trouble. You can also ring me at any time and chat. I do not mind.”

“Thank you, Jason. I am very grateful to you.”

They then talked happily about other topics for an hour or so and then Jason went home.

When he got home Jason put his mobile telephone on the kitchen table. He did not turn it on again until the following morning.