“To love a person is to learn the song in their heart, and sing it to them when they have forgotten.” – Arne Garborg
Being able to accept the fact that your loved one has been diagnosed with Dementia is hard. All the memories you have shared with one another slowly fades away, leaving your loved one confused, stressed, and lonely.
Loneliness is one of the hardest heartbreaks of having Dementia.
If this is hard for the caretaker, can you imagine what the patient feels? Your most treasured memories are slowly becoming blurry. You can no longer express what you feel or be able to hold up a long conversation. You are there, but you feel lost and lonely.
According to WHO:
“Worldwide, around 50 million people have dementia, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year.”
Gene McGehee, 91, already has a severe case of Dementia. In fact, he can no longer remember what he looks like but this elderly man considers himself very lucky, and you are about to know why.
McGehee always has the urge to step outside his home in Vidalia, Louisiana. He does this every day instead of sitting down and doing nothing. He gets up, and when the time comes, he gets ready to go out.
Of course, he really doesn’t remember why he does this, but McGehee knows his heart is happy and that he needs to go out. Sure enough, this lucky man discovers several kids outside his home. They are the kids from the daycare center just across the street, and they are there to play and have fun.
Guess what? They are waiting for McGehee to join them.
Outside, McGehee also meets the kid’s teacher, Megan Nunez, who is very polite as they greet each other.
“Every day I cross the street and we meet again,” Megan said in her interview with CBS.
As it turns out, this event has been happening for three years now. Each day, every day for three years, McGehee has been going out of his house to meet Megan and the kids.
For him, however, it’s always the first time.
Megan and her students never fail to do this routine for the elderly man every single day. It’s always a first for him; he always has this big warm smile for everyone.
He laughs, he tells stories, and he befriends them.
McGehee goes home after a day of fun and sleeps, and along with his dreams, the memory of that day fades away. Somehow, he still wakes up hopeful, because his mind may have forgotten it, but his heart somehow remembers.
According to his daughter Cathy, McGehee had been very lonely a few years back. Dementia has taken a toll on him until he met the kids and Meagan. Now, he always has this energy and happiness with him.
“Oh my goodness, they have been such a blessing to daddy. And he lights up,” Cathy happily shared.
The reporter asked Cathy about McGehee’s daily routine and she said that somehow he wakes up expecting something fun that day.
“Exactly,” Cathy responded to the question, she then adds, “Because it’s love. And, you know, everybody responds to love.”
Gene McGehee is looking forward to something every day, and this is what keeps him going.
Dementia can make you forget. It can make you lonely and confused, but as long as there is love, understanding, and compassion – then there is always something to hold on to.
Watch the beautiful story of Gene and his friends below.
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