...unless you're visiting Auntie Hope.
Auntie Hope has Alzheimer's, and once a week I spend the morning with her because she's lonely. Every Monday morning I have to re-introduce myself to her as she has forgotten who I am. And every Monday she tells me that she's only been in the retirement home for one week and doesn't know anyone yet.
Auntie Hope tells me the same story over and over and over again, but I have to be as interested the 10th time as I am the 1st time because in her mind, she's telling me for the first time each time.
I have learned to slow my sense of time when I'm with Auntie Hope. I've learned to just listen, and to love her for who she is, not who she was. I have learned to smile and not sweat the small stuff. I love my visits with Auntie Hope because they are teaching me unconditional love.
Auntie Hope has an amazing life story and still has much to offer the world. She doesn't know who I am each week and yet she willingly opens her door to me and makes me tea, serving it in her best china. We'll take walks together and just enjoy the birds and the plants, soaking in the winter sun's feeble rays.
Auntie Hope is teaching me to be more like Jesus, though she doesn't know it, because she has shown love and hospitality to a stranger (me) each week, and she handles life with such courage and aplomb. I hope I can be like Auntie Hope when I am 84.