Saturday, April 25, 2009


Tonight we had a strange experience. We were on our way to go out to dinner when we came to a hault on a very busy street because of a woman in the road. She was quite old, bent over almost in half, and shuffling across the street at a VERY slow pace. Oh, and did I mention she was literally in the middle of traffic? Not at a crosswalk and most definitely not watching for cars. Both sides of traffic were (thankfully) stopped to let her through.

We were pretty concerned, so I hopped out of the car (hey, traffic was stopped anyway, right?) and helped her up to the sidewalk. She was walking towards the mall (completely bent in half, so she was staring at the ground.) but when I asked her if she was going to the mall, she kept saying no. Then she would point towards the mall and say, I am going to that building right there. And then she broke into a few, "Holy spirit of light, be my guide..." rants, and I knew that this woman was pretty confused.

I motioned to Mike to call the police. If you know me, that is pretty much my answer for anything unusual: call 911. So, as Mike called, I walked her over to the TGI Friday's and sat her on a bench. A waitress brought out some water for the woman, and I continued to probe her for information about herself as we waited for the police to arrive.

I asked her who she was. Vivianna.
I asked her if she had children. Jennifer, Jay, and Jonathan.
I asked her what her husband's name was. Larry.
Where is Larry? In the building.
You mean the mall? No. That building right there. (Motions towards the mall.)
Then she broke out into a LONG string of religious jargon. I felt so bad for this woman, so confused, sitting on a bench with a total stranger, drinking whatever this stranger gave her, having NO clue where she was.

The police arrived and they knew her. Apparently she must wander a lot. They immediately asked her where Larry was, and at that moment, as if it were magic, Larry appeared. He was yelling at her for not staying in the car when he was in getting their 'Wendys sandwiches!!!'
The Wendys was across the street from the mall (the busy street she had crossed.) She must have thought she was crossing the parking lot to go to the Wendys. After a moment it became clear that Larry is pretty confused himself.

It was so sad seeing this unfold in front of me. It makes me ill to think that someday I might be as confused as Vivianna. Or worse, that one of my parents will. I know that my grandpa took care of his very confused wife for a long time, and I can't imagine how hard that must have been! I feel so sorry for these people and especially their caretakers. How frustrating it must be to not be able to communicate with someone who was once a completely capable person. UGHHHHHHHH.

Okay, sorry for the downer post but I had to unload this. It was such a wierd, unexpected experience.


Kelli Bramble said...

That is crazy! BUT, how awesome of you to get out and help. Hopefully someone will get them the help they need to get around. That's just so sad.

Annie G. said...

I always feel sad when I see people like that. It's a good thing there are people like you out there to lend a helping hand!

Brie Wheelwright said...

How sad! I know I'm going to be that lady when I'm older. I'm already well on my way.

Wright said...

This will probably be us someday. Me and you. I will cross the road to go find you at the "mall" and you will yell at me, "dammit Ad, stay in the car while I get my enchilada soup!"
Sad but true.

Candi said...

You are such a good person, Joy. Somebody, somewhere, who really loves this lady, is thankfull you helped her. Very sad to think someone we love, or US even, could be like that one day.

Bobbi Leavitt said...

Way to have the courage to get out and help! I am sure it was much appreciated.
Ps- i hope i am confused enough that i dont know that i am confused when it comes to that time ;)

CandraWynne said...

That was so sweet of you to help her out. Her son must have been so thankful to you :) It is so sad to see people like that, especially when in their younger days they could have been very cool people with such an amazing life story. Good for you Joy!!

Shannon said...

I have tears in my eyes thinking that this could soon be my dad. Dementia is a horrible thing to endure...luckily (hopefully) she doesn't know better, but I really feel for Larry. How sweet of you to stop what you were doing to help her Joy. Many people wouldn't go out of their way like that.

Brooke said...

That is so sad, way to be her hero :)

hendywow said...

Trust me it's much worse watching happen to someone you have always loved and known when they are in our prime... When it happens to us it will be our children who suffer, we will be oblivious, hopefully. Just had to had some CHEER!
We sure miss you and the girls, and we have gooten such great feedback on the photos!

hendywow said...

Hey I obviously have some spelling issues!