By Linda Wallace
This is a love letter to the people who work at Crest View Care Village. In these times, we are all hyper-aware of the incredible demands being placed on ALL people who work in health care in any capacity, and I stand with the rest of the world in expressing deep gratitude for every ounce of that effort.
Every heartbreak you feel, every day that you watch someone slip a bit further away and every tear shed, every tiny step towards another person going home healthy and every triumph celebrated.
But today, I want to say a specific thank you to those who are, in any way, keeping my specific person well and safe – my mom.
First and foremost are the care aides, the nursing staff and the recreation staff, as yours are the faces I see most. Yours are the hands that give her the most intimate kinds of care while still treating her with respect and dignity.
The hands that hold and squeeze a hello, and comb her hair and touch her face. Yours are the eyes that smile into hers. Yours are the backs and arms that lift — and also hug. Yours are the feet that carry you to check on her and to touch base with her, and everyone else, so many times a day.
Yours are the words that make her laugh, and the songs and whistled tunes that bring a smile to her face, and yours are the spirits that lift her up, to whatever degree possible, whenever you can.
Yours are the hearts that still try to reach past dementia to see her. And yours are also the hearts and bodies that go home exhausted and often in pain at the end of the day, to tend to your own homes, your own families, your own health and the business of living your own lives.
And then you come back and do it again the next day.
You know who you are. I see you. I appreciate you. And this is true all the time, not just during COVID. Add to all of that the relentless weight of this heightened sense of responsibility for the safety of our loved ones and for the safety of the families you go home to, and I see that it can take a real physical and emotional toll.
Please know that my heart is with yours, for whatever that is worth. Please know that I see and understand what you give of yourself to my mother on a daily basis. And please know that I understand what it means to invest that kind of energy, not just for my mom, but for all the other moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, spouses, sisters, brothers and friends who live there, too.
From administration to kitchen, laundry, housekeeping and maintenance — have I missed anybody? Know that I see and appreciate the efforts you make to interact with my mom whenever you happen to be by her.
No matter your role in this facility, whether it is the direct individual care of a resident or not, I see that you engage – one human being to another, even if only for a moment – and that our loved ones are not invisible to you and that they matter. I thank you for all you give.
In case anyone reading this letter thinks I’m a little over the top and am going overboard with my comments, I do know that no team is made up of 100 per cent of people like this. I do know that people like this don’t have it in them to give in this way for every second of every single day. I do know that we are all human, with all the ups and downs that entails.
But what if this was YOUR mom? Watch as they care for her over the course of more than five years. Feel as they grieve with you as dementia steals so much from her. Then compare this to the horror stories we hear from long-term care facilities elsewhere around the province and country. And then, see how grateful your heart is for Crest View Care Village and the people who make up that staff.
Please hold on and hang in. You are valued. There will be a vaccine. There will be a tomorrow. And I’ll keep on appreciating you, still and always.
With deep, deep gratitude,
Linda Wallace and all the family of Pearl Link