Today I wanted to get a lot done, but I only did a so-so job of that. I did a bit of shopping and while I was out got a pedicure – which seriously cut into the available hours of today. But it was decadent and fun.
Earlier in the day I went to visit Hetty in the nursing home to bring her a Christmas present. She was born in 1920, so is 93 years old right now. Today all she wanted to do was sleep. I sat on the edge of her bed for a long time talking to her, but she never really roused. When I bent to kiss her good-bye, she did wrap her arms around me for a good hug, but other than that she slept.
Here is a picture of Hetty from last year.
It is a very odd thing, but I am her guardian. She was a library patron who once asked for my help. Her husband was ill and in the hospital on and off for some time and she had no idea how to pay her bills. Matthew had always taken care of that. This was around 10 years ago. Once her husband passed away, I taught her how to pay her bills, enter the amounts into a ledger and how to check her bank statement each month. Once a month I would drop by and check to see if everything was ok.
Eventually, old age began to take its toll on her thinking and she needed assisted living. She has no living relatives within any sort of practical distance, so she appointed me her power of attorney for finances as well as health care.
Hetty’s life has been very interesting. She was born in Indonesia in a small town called Soekaboemi – which I understand means Happy Earth. Her mother was Indonesian and Chinese and her father was a Dutch colonist who ran a plantation. She spent time in a convent school, became a nurse and was used as a childcare provider for the children of imprisoned citizens during the Japanese occupation during WW2.
She had a marriage of convenience to another Dutch national. When “freedom fighters” in Indonesia sought emancipation from foreign colonists she and her husband escaped to Holland. From there they emigrated to the United States and settled in St. Louis where Matthew worked for several local companies such as Boeing and Chevron.
They had one son who was a tour guide for a travel company and was tragically murdered while on tour in Mexico City. This was such a blow, especially to Hetty, because her son was her life. I don’t think she was ever the same after that.
Now she lives in a nursing home and spends much of her time sleeping, though she is very affectionate and well-liked by the care givers there.