Jean Long Manteufel

Come and sit quietly with me. Have a cup of coffee. Hold my hand.

Some days I won’t know you, yet some days I might.

Your time is most precious to me. Little do you know your strength calms me; tell me it will be alright.

Be patient with me. What is real to me may not be real to you. Others correct me and cause me such stress. You don’t try to fix me, you just step into my world.

Keep your sense of humor. Your smile is calming. Your laugh warms my heart.

Have a “so what” attitude. When I keep folding papers, it’s no big deal. I was a clerk in the army and I have to keep order. It isn’t hurting anyone – just bring me more papers.

Don’t ask me multiple choice questions. Kindly decide things for me. You are my voice.

I worry about things that you cannot see. I think I am still at work and my chores aren’t done. I fret and I fuss. Assure me that all is okay, that I’ve finished working for today and now it is time to relax.

Let’s look at pictures; a colorful book. It may bring on memories or, today, maybe not. But sharing time with you brings me peace for a while.

Don’t be loud or talk too fast. I’ve come to struggle to understand all that.

If I ask about someone who has passed away, don’t tell me they are gone – they’re just gone for today. Share a memory of them. Their closeness is what I long for.

It is good to be here where I am safe and well cared for.

I want to go “home” but what am I really searching for? It is peace. My mind is befuddled, that’s what I want to escape. Don’t try to reason with me or argue, just change the subject and soon we will move on.

Let me do the things I still can and help me along when I can’t.

Let’s listen to old songs or watch a show. Doesn’t matter. Just don’t go.

Sometimes I don’t know you. You wonder if you should visit me. Yes. I still need a friend. Your voice belongs to someone I love. Your face is familiar, smile for me.

We can still share good times, take me for a walk.

If you can’t be with me, don’t feel guilty. Instead, make sure my world is being held together.

If I get upset, know it’s not you. I don’t do it on purpose.

I know you love me. I love you more.

This disease makes life a muddle, but who would have guessed that it could draw us closer together? I depend on you. I may not remember, but the gift you are giving me is something you’ll never forget.

I’ve always been proud of my children but seeing all that you’re doing in my life, my heart would be near bursting with pride.

I am so grateful for all you do.

– Love you, Dad

By Jean Long Manteufel

Sponsored by Willow Valley Communities

If you’re interested in reading more stories by Jean Long Manteufel, consider purchasing her book.

Jean Long Manteufel, senior move manager and CEO of Long’s Senior Transitions in Appleton, WI writes a column on the first Sunday of each month about life changes associated with aging.   She can be reached at Jean@TransitionsWithJean.com

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