Due to its length, this post will be published in three parts. Look for Part 2 on Wednesday, and Part 3 on Friday.
“Ms. Denniston, do you have any children?” I asked as I was interviewing my new resident. Regardless of that information being a component of my social services assessment, I always feel the genuine interest in getting to know my nursing home residents. So, I was eagerly waiting for her answer.
“I have two children, my daughter Cheryl, and my son Robert,” Ms. Denniston replied, with a gentle voice. I extended my pause, as I noticed she gestured like if she wanted to continue talking. “I have a deceased son.”
I remained quiet. Sometimes it saddens me when a resident tells me about the loss of a child. Parents are not supposed to outlive their children, always comes to my mind. But what I had no idea was of what Ms. Denniston was about to announce.
“He was murdered at age 22.”
I felt as though her words had sent shivers down my spine. I have learned of residents losing their children due to an accident or an illness, or even in one case, the son had committed suicide, but this was the first time I learned of a resident’s child being murdered.
Ms. Denniston glanced at me with her deep blue eyes, patiently waiting for my next question. She was in her eighties, and expected to be in the nursing home for rehab only, no more than two or three weeks. She seemed confident and calm enough that I decided not to go further into her unfortunate life event—not at this time anyway.
I was grateful I’d have the time to digest the information, and second, to build rapport with my resident, before exploring the impact of her tragedy and grief.
After I left work, I immersed in my own thoughts about the subject—murders. I went back to a reflection I had sometime in recent months.
All started one day when I was avidly reading a mystery novel authored by Lee Child. I found myself indulging in the undaunted adventures of Jack Reacher, the main character.
Suddenly, I felt like if Jack Reacher started becoming my hero.
I wondered if I was losing my mind since murder mysteries haven’t been priority in my reading preferences. At that point, I knew I needed to ponder over the subject a little deeper.