As I come to the end of my encounter with by now the infamous Dick Hall, reflecting on this time has truly been an exceptional one... I digress ... but back to the story.
With very few encounters in between, One of the most vital ones to me was the witnessing of Dick as becoming a member of the Residents Council. After every week, seeing the love he held for each resident individually and noticing how meticulous he was with everything he did for them has really made my heart warm.
I remember him always telling us how he would love to become a member of the council one day.
He pulled out stat sheets and explained to us that along with this monthly resident's hall meeting he would add official residents meeting to his agenda. One where he would be allowed to place input on changes being made at the Downs rather than just his hall. I knew that this would be an amazing opportunity for him and I told him that if he would allow it, I'd love to be there to support him. He readily agreed and sent me all the details but I don't know if he fully believed I was to show – he kept saying that if I could make it, to make sure to let him know. I knew it'd be a stretch with my last class for me to get there on time, but I was adamant about being there as someone in his corner. I made it in just the lick of time, and I walk into women who were just as excited to see me as I was to be there.
I guess, Dick told everyone to be on the lookout for me because they knew who I was there for before I could even begin to part my lips. After speaker upon speaker, with each one nearing the end – I reminded Dick of how nervous he need not be.
Although I could tell he tried to hide it because of me, I knew how bad he wanted the position, so his nerves were certainly a good thing. Within minutes of deliberation – 3 out of 5 people were chosen and the second on the list was, of course, Dick Hall!
I gave him a huge hug in needed excitement, and he waved a great big smile to a facetime with my mom who called me just after. Honestly, after that – I looked at Dick Hall in a whole new light. He was a man full of charm and ambition and one who genuinely cared about the people who surround him. Our times spent with Dick to follow were still filled with laughs, meal dates, Easter hunts and of course residents' meetings. We spoke with Dick about our semester which was to soon come to an end but the relationship that was to continue to flourish.
I continue to look forward to seeing what life has in store for me and Dick hall and after the course of these few months, I can honestly say that I have gained a friend indeed. Never would I have thought that I would grow to adore someone who is completely different from me in such a short period of time but truly his heart is kind. He has taught me that no matter how old you are or what kind of toll life has taken you through if you have breath in your body then you have no reason to live!
There is no limit to where you can go or what you can do. I think when actively involved, this experience gives the residents at Clemson Downs more than something to look forward to. Most times when placing a relative or someone that we care about in a home or assisted living facility we become so encompassed with our lives that we sometimes forget that they are still living theirs.
This time for some is like a beam of light and a breath of fresh air. Even if once a week, they have someone to talk to, sit and laugh with or even put together a thousand piece puzzle. I've learned that it's not about who you're with or how long you're with the person but what we are doing in the time given that matters and how we make the most of it.
Truly that's what this experience was about and if Dick could again ask me the question of "What would I want from him out of all of this". My answer would be just that.