The One

“You’ll probably go through three or four people before you find the one.” This is what my neighbor said when I told her that I would need to hire help because MIL was moving in. My heart sank because she, more so than anyone else I know, had experience with this very sort of thing. She’s a retired RN. She worked as a home healthcare nurse and then as an administrator for a home healthcare agency. When her husband became ill, she cared for him at home and hired respite care. She had seen my very situation from every angle, and I wanted her to tell me that finding someone to care for MIL would be easy. I did not want to hear that it is typical to hire and then let go a few different people before finding THE ONE.

In my post-college life, I have worked at an organization for children with cancer, a domestic violence shelter, a retail shop, and a few museums. On a few different occasions, it was my job to fire people. Letting someone go is never easy. I didn’t want to say, “This is not working out” to anyone. Yet, my neighbor was telling me that I would likely have those uneasy conversations in the near future.

So far, however, I’ve fired no one. Since September, I’ve hired four care-givers and the first three quit. Abruptly. No two weeks’ notice.

The fourth care-giver starts on Monday. (Hooray!) When she accepted the position, I heard the Heavens open up and the angels sing the Halleluiah chorus from Handel’s Messiah. When I shouted “Amen!” people in low-flying planes heard me, and I subjected my neighbors to a happy-dance I did in my front yard. I cried tears of happiness. (And no, I don’t think I am over-stating my excitement here!)

I have high-hopes for #4. While I had hired the others through Care.com, I went to the county’s Department of Aging and Disabilities respite-worker referral program when looking for my fourth hire. They provided me with names and contact information for people who had recently completed their Companion Care-giver Certification Program, and I have to believe the person I hired was at the top of her class. She has over 20 years of experience in caring for patients with dementia and her references were stellar.

I’ve prayed (or perhaps “begged God” is a better way of putting it) that #4 be THE ONE. “Please God, let her be THE ONE.”

Even though MIL didn’t qualify for Hospice care, I feel we have turned some invisible corner and she is headed home to Jesus. It is with mixed emotions that I say that I would be surprised if she makes it through the year. I don’t want to install a revolving door in my home to accommodate here-today-gone-tomorrow care-givers, especially if MIL is in her last days. For her sake, I want consistency.

I want consistency for my sake, too. It’s emotionally draining and very disappointing to hire and train someone only to have to hire and train a week later. I have other things to do.

I even want THE ONE for the sake of my children. Kids get attached to the people who work in their home. They become like family. It’s been two weeks since #3 sent me a text message telling me to find someone else. Every day, my son has asked when #3 will be here. When I tell him she isn’t coming, that she no longer works for our family, he hangs his head in disappointment. He loves her. He misses her.

Every time I think about Monday with such anticipation, yes, I pray, “Please God, let her be The One.”

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