len's masthead




londoner editor pic





Yesterday at Foodland an old acquaintance, "Ben", who used to live in Dorchester stopped to say: "Happy Valentine’s Day. He was not dressed for the cold weather wearing only a light thread bare
Spring coat.

Ben went shopping for five small tins of chicken broth. There was not a morsel of fresh fruit, vegetables or chicken on the check out counter for his meager solitary dinner.

Ben wanted to tell me that the love of his life, his wife for over 50 years "Gloria", was in a long term care nursing home in London. She suffers from dementia. Gloria no longer recognizes or is able to speak to him .

Yet, he still visits her every day. Gloria can not express her love or appreciation for his visits . Ben’s love is everlasting regardless of the circumstances.

He gently holds her hand and tries in the vain to help her to remember the good old days of living in the village. Their out-of-town adult children who now have children of their own rarely take the time to pay a visit to their mother. " Out of sight, out of mind" the sages teach us.

Gloria is in retirement home that has been in operation since 1984 promising "compassion, comfort and care for all of the residents". For the most part Ben told me that: "Gloria gets good care." But, he is there every day to check and lend a helping hand when he can be of assistance.

Long term care in a nursing facility can be expensive for people who rely solely on a Government pension to get bye. A basic room with two occupants sharing bath room facility for four can set you back $1,800 per month. There is government assistance that you apply for those in need of financial assistance.

At the close of each visit Ben bids adieu with a kiss on the cheek for his sweetheart. He promises that
he will be back to-morrow to visit. Ben has kept his promise for the past eight years. Gloria may not
know him but his memory although fading remembers his love and obligations to his wife.

To the outside world his wife may not be very important but for Ben she represents his whole life: the past, present and future love.

I surmise that there are many villagers whose end of life saga are akin to the true life story of Ben and Gloria’s where Alzheimer’s disease has done grievous harm to many loved ones.

I know that Gloria’s "boy friend", Ben, God willing, will continue his Valentine’s tradition to visit on Wednesday February 14th to see his sweetheart with a small bouquet of flowers and a Valentine card in his hand. He has kept his sacred traditional vows of their wedding day "to promise to love, honour, cherish and protect from this day forward till death do us part".

Wishing you all a Happy, Healthy Valentine’s Day.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com