Charlie and I went to the retirement facility today to see our friends and discovered that one of our favorites passed away last week. I knew something was wrong the moment I looked down the hallway when we arrived. Our friend, Margaret always waited for us out in the hall and watched us zig-zag back and forth, making our way closer to her room. She loved our visits. The director once told me that Margaret refused to go to Activity on the days that Charlie was scheduled to visit because she was afraid she would miss him. Now, we just miss her.
Margaret liked nuts... And she quickly figured out that Charlie did too. (Dogs should not eat nuts, so we limited her "treats" to one or two small samples.) When Charlie had met his limit, Margaret would patiently allow him to lick the salt off of her fingers and giggle at his attentiveness. We used to talk about lots of things including her favorite dog, Cinda. Apparently, Charlie looks a lot like Cinda. The visits always rekindled this particular memory for Margaret.
I'm very sad... Have been all day. I guess I should have known this is one of the hazards of volunteering at a long-term care facility. While I have enjoyed our time there, I realized today that I have taken the opportunity for granted. I always told Margaret... "See you next time!" I said it to all of the residents. Now, when I say good-bye I realize it might be a little bit longer before we meet again.
I don't think the residents understand the privilege it is to be in their presence. Not only does Charlie love to go, I love to take him and always leave a little bit better than when we arrived. Life is short and once in a while we need to be reminded to appreciate what and who you have while we can. Time goes so quickly. There is no room for regret.
Margaret is back with Cinda... And that makes me smile.
I hope they put in a good word for us.