Yesterday I had a visit from mijn mooie zus, Andree – the staff often mention that she is also tall like me but she is pretty – thank you very much! But they are right, she is. I think they are impressed by the style of clothes she wears, very European.
And also Gerda came to visit, and as we are both followers of Jesus, she is my sister in that sense. She brought some flowers – I love flowers.
My older sister is married and living in Johannesburg, also called Joburg or Jozi by locals. She visit me via WhatsApp, thank goodness for technology.
It is wonderful that all of us are followers of Jesus and are looking forward to his return.
A Hostile World
Of course it is not intended to be that but a care home is a hostile world for the residents. Your life is regimented, you are constantly told, ordered or shouted at to this or the other by girls who don’t speak any our your languages by staff, who are no more than giggling girls.
I was going down the hallway for example when a number of these girls were giggling about my name and wanted know what it means. I clarified that my name is actually Johanna Adelheide, and that Heidi is the common contraction/contraction of Adelheide which meaning of royal or noble kind. Johanna means God is gracious. My oldest son is called Johann, a derivative.
Johanna Louise Spyri
As a child, “Heidi”, a novel by Johanna Louise Spyri was my favorite. Due unfortunate circumstances Heidi is forced to live with her Grandfather high up in the Swiss mountains. She was an inspiration for me and like her I grew to love the wise grandfather.
In German my name is pronounced as HighD but in local dialects and the lowlands it is pronounces Hay Dee.
So my name and what it stands for, is precious to me and to have giggling girls make fun of it hurtful and it would be considered a grave disrespect where I grew up. I took them to task in a light-hearted manner as I know they don’t understand. I reminded the care aid in charge on several occasions since then that it is important to be respectful.
So that is just one personal example of how a care facility can be a hostile place. We represent a wide range of people of different ages, personalities, cultures and believe systems and the system does not understand your specific needs. So we get hurt emotionally continuously, mostly out of ignorance and not intentionally – however tolerance and compassion is becoming a thing of the past, if social media is anything to go by. It is indeed a hostile place.
A Balm to the Soul
When one is living in a hostile environment, one is constantly on the defense, not knowing what hurt, put down, offence one is going to endure next. Your body is fragile, your energy reserves are depleted.
Then when you get visitors, people you know, love and trust, then it is like a balm to your soul.
I know it is not always convenient, and masks and testing is unpleasant.
Please do know how grateful I am for all such visits, and that after the long Covid restrictions that it is again possible to have visitors.