Sep 24, 2017

Loosing Josephine

This week I am starting writing Saturday already. Because Sunday will be our last day together.

I got to know Tuesday. It had been up for consideration for a while. Now it was decided. I was prepared. But not ready. I cried in despair all day. Josephine is leaving.

I didn’t really know Josephine when she started working here November four years ago. We had met of course, as her dad is my next door neighbor and my beloved Alida her likewise beloved grandmother. At that time Josephine had just turned 22, a single mother of 1-year old Dancy.

On Josephine’s first day as a home care personal she jumped right up in my bed and that’s how our life together started. I would say we are best friends as well as mother and daughter but without the complications of a mother and daughter relationship. And I have had the privilege watching Josephine develop and grow in to an amazing young woman and had the joy of being close to her little daughter changing from a toddler to a capable and mature 5-year old. 

My home care company Civil Care has the best intentions of providing their clients a sustainable situation with only a few people taking care of you. But to a large degree this is a job for people in transition. Mostly young women and men figuring out what they want to do in life and then moving on. So over the close to five years since I became someone in need of help of the most basic things a lot of people have passed through my life.

In this fragile, variable and exposed situation Josephine has been a constant. We have seen each other most every day for four years. She has had only every other Friday off and not until this summer even taken a vacation.

Josephine has been the one helping me out of bed in the mornings. The one wiping my feet and legs after the shower. The one putting lotion on my skin. The one dressing me, panties, jeans, socks. The one making me breakfast every morning. She has also been the one cleaning my house and doing my laundry. Helping me change the seasons in my home (yes, this is something Swedes do) and decorate for Christmas. And she has roasted my special granola for me.

Above all Josephine has wiped my tears. And I hers. She has listened to my heart and I  have listened to hers. She has shared my laughter and I have laughed with her. She has been annoyed and pissed at me and I at her. At her hello in the morning when she puts the key in my door I can tell what mood she is in. And she can tell mine from my hello back.

Josephine and I share everything with each other. And that’s a lot. You would think a 60-something disabled woman who spends her life on a couch and a 20-something single (for real) mom always tied up, wouldn’t have that eventful lives, but I tell you, we have. I could write a book. Because we are not talking blog material.

Both Josephine and I are very emotional. We are not equipped with filters. Highly Sensitive Persons. Therefore we share a profound understanding for each other. Me telling Josephine something difficult she might become nauseous. The other way around, I sometimes have to lye down feeling light headed. Yeah, it can be intense.

I think my relationship with Josephine has been the healthiest relationship in my life though. We have sure had our fights but always come out on the other side in a mutual understanding for each other. We never ever put up a facade, we are always real, we can be exactly who we are at any given moment and that’s a relaxed closeness very rare to find. Our friendship is safe. Our loyalty to each other was once tested in the most dramatic way but even that we got through. Managing that kind of stress I can not see what could ever break us.

I can’t comprehend my time with Josephine now is over. It’s not possible to grasp. I can’t wrap my head around it. Will we loose contact? No, we won’t. But seeing each other every day, sometimes twice a day, gives a connection quality you don’t get any other way. The continuity provides a presence where you can be at rest. You can dig in to what’s happening in life right when it occurs. And what there isn’t time for today you can talk about tomorrow. Because there is no limitations of tomorrows. It’s a presence you only have in a family, if it’s a good family. And I would say Josephine and I have been family to each other. Josephine is the one closest to me. She is my person.

Now it’s time for Josephine to move on though. She has a family in her own generation now and will start studying full time. And it’s the right thing to do. But it will be a great loss for me. Loosing Josephine is the biggest change for me since my ex husband moved on with his life.

I can’t believe it won’t be possible for the two of us to curl up in bed or on my couch whenever one of us need to. I can’t believe Dancy won’t be running between my house and Grandpa’s, happy and safe, while her mom is doing the weekend cleaning. I can’t believe I won’t have access to Josephine’s swift hands doing all those little things for me I can’t attend to myself. 

I am incredibly grateful for the years we had and everything we have been through together. And I am sure our friendship will last my lifetime, just as mine and Josephine’s grandmother Alida’s have. But I don’t know how I can do this without her. Josephine is irreplaceable. And I dread the mornings when I acute shivering in nameless fear have to be brave with people who don’t know me by heart.

She has just served me her last supper. And we ended the way we started.

Waking up this morning the first tears did wet my cheek. I felt like I was heading for a funeral. Only sadness and pain in sight. And I decided to treat the day that way.

Josephine wiped my legs and feet after the shower one last time. Put my jeans and socks on. One last time sitting on the floor at my bedside. We held hands and agreed on crying as much as we needed. And enjoy the good moments. Just as a funeral.

My friend did her last Sunday cleaning of my house. And we decked the house for fall. Put the yellow window dressing up in the kitchen. Changed blankets and pillows from blue and white to brown, orange and yellow in my great room. Dressed my bedroom in latte, a color I brought here from Seattle. And treated my bed with the new linen I bought to make fall a little brighter.

We have had a good day. Making the house fall-cozy together one more time gave us a  the closure we needed. We made the day a lovely funeral.

And before Josephine put the dinner tray on my lap we said our goodbye. She curled up with me on my couch and we held each other and cried. Thanking each other for everything we have been for one another these past four years. Agreeing on our friendship being very special.

Josephine leaving the house without saying “see you tomorrow” is incomprehensible to both of us. I know she won’t be here tomorrow morning, I get that. But the fact that she won’t be here any morning… I will miss her like hell. My home and my life will be unbearably quite without her.

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