Beth woke earlier than usual as she had a prompt start ahead of her at 7.30am. She leapt out of bed just after 6am with utter happiness, strolling into the bathroom to have a refreshing shower to awaken her. Afterwards, Beth took her brand new uniform (which had been given to her on the day of the interview) out of the wardrobe. It consisted of a green tunic teamed with black trousers and sensible (yet ugly) shoes. She pinned her hair into a net bun, she felt nervous yet excited, she was determined to prove herself in this new venture. The home was only a 15 minute walk away, ideal she’d save an absolute fortune on diesel. Even more perfect!

She approached the pretty building of “Summer Cottage Care Home”, it was quite small with just over 50 residents all between the ages of 72-103! Beth had done her research prior to arriving with the attitude of ‘I might as well give myself an idea of what I’m actually in for.’ Annie Woods office was on the ground floor, Beth had an induction in the morning with another new member of staff. To her relief it went smoothly. Beth was surprised by the friendliness of the staff, she didn’t expect to be accepted as part of the team so quickly. For the first time in her life she actually felt wanted. Her experience showed and the majority of the residents took a real shine to her.

The morning consisted of assisting the residents with washing and dressing followed by breakfast at 8.45am. Beth helped to feed some of the less able residents, sitting next to Mary at the round table. Mary was visually impaired and had bad arthritis in her right hand, seeing this Beth immediately assisted her. All was well in the dining room until there was a loud scream and the sound of china smashing.

” I DON’T WANT TO EAT THE BLOODY PORRIDGE! STOP FORCING ME YOU HORRID GIRL!!!” Beth stopped what she was doing and gawped. It had been said so eloquently. The outburst had come from the petite lady in the corner. She was immaculately dressed and approximately in her early 80’s. Amy, another one of the health care assistants sitting beside her had turned a shade of scarlet out of pure embarrassment. In a fit of anger the woman threw the bowl of porridge upon the floor. It shattered everywhere and Beth ran to get the dustpan and brush handing it to a very shocked Amy.

“T-thanks” she stuttered in a bewildered fashion, the mess was cleared up and most of the normal conversations continued. Beth plucked up all her courage, she nealt beside the woman and introduced herself. “Hi, I’m Beth would you like me to get you something else?” she said gently. “Yes  please” came the answer “I’d like some rice krispies, you’re a nice girl.” She patted Beth’s hand which was resting on the table and smiled sweetly like butter wouldn’t melt. Beth went and fetched the cereal from the kitchen. The lady continued : “Thank you Beth! You’re new? I’m Rose but I don’t think I live here” She looked slightly bewildered and then happily started to eat her cereal. All was well.

Beth had earlier received a quick handover of all the residents. She glanced at it :

‘Rose Hilton, 83 lived alone with help from her family prior to coming to Rose Cottage. Receives regular visits from her Grandson, can be aggressive and easily agitated due to her Dementia.

Ah she has a Grandson Beth thought. I wonder what he’s like. The other staff were clearly surprised at the calming influence Beth had over Rose, they had never seen her so gentle or happy. Beth would take 20 minutes or so each day to read one of the British Classics to her. They both shared a love of books and reading, but unfortunately, Rose’s eyesight had deteriorated over the last few years.

The next week was jam-packed. Beth didn’t seem to stop for a moment however, she would always find the time to continue to read to Rose. On the off-chance Beth asked her one day “What’s your grandson like? I don’t think I’ve met him.” Rose answered. “Oh he’s a dear boy, I’m afraid I’ve forgotten his name. He’s been away for a while, I can’t remember the reason.” Beth stated “Would you like me to find out for you?” Rose nodded her head enthusiastically. Beth continued with her work but later keeping her word, asked Gemma who had been a carer there for 6 months.

“Oh her grandson Eddie, oh he’s lovely a bit on the shy side perhaps. He was away on holiday last week but he said he’ll come and see her early this week when he’s back.” Beth nodded. Eddie?! she thought surely it can’t be that Eddie. It must just be a coincidence Beth thought shaking her head to herself, carrying on her work as usual.

But this was no coincidence…IT WAS FATE !



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