Skip to content Skip to navigation

When a resident couple’s romance ends

February 13, 2012
by Kathleen Mears
| Reprints

Madeline (pseudonym) is in her 50s and has lived here for over a year. Yesterday, she moved to a smaller facility owned by the same company. She hopes she will have more freedom and be able to go outside when she wants.

Madeline did not know she was leaving yesterday, but knew it could be any day. She left before lunch so I do not know if other residents got to say goodbye. People will surely miss Madeline because she helped with activities many times, and she was also the best buddy of the facility dog Brutus.

Over the last several months, Madeline and Harry, (pseudonym) who lived across the hall, became a pair. He is a few years younger and their different personalities made it seem like an odd match. But they did care for each other in a “teenage crush” sort of way.

Harry's behavioral issues cause him to become violent, and he requires an injection to be calmed. For that reason I thought Madeline would have been frightened of Harry. She never seemed to be.

I think Madeline wanted to help him. They started out as friends and over time became more than that. I found it embarrassing when they laughed and carried on in her room—right next to mine. Several times Harry startled me by taking half a step into our communal bathroom. Whenever he saw me in there, he left quickly.

While Madeline and Harry were close, they broke up frequently. I did not keep up with the daily buzz on their relationship, but I could certainly tell when Harry was upset with Madeline.

Yesterday, after Madeline left, Harry had an episode and required an injection. This morning he is back to pacing the halls and talking loudly as though he is mad at the world. He knew Madeline was leaving because I heard her tell him in the hallway. I guess he thought she might stay.

Brutus the dog is as upset as Harry. He is walking around looking for her because he has slept in her room for the past several months.

I do not know if Harry will have the opportunity to see Madeline again. Last night he told the aides he misses her. I imagine both of their worlds are a bit upside down right now.

Topics

Kathleen Mears

www.ltlmagazine.com/blog/kathleen-mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...