Week 4 (07/09/2016)
Today, the facility was emptier than usual, most likely because I arrived in the morning. I got Joan and we sat in the meeting room, making terrible origami black cats. Despite my disappointment over the poor origami, I was enlightened the most today. Joan led me to her room door, which was ostentatiously decorated with various cats and a small sign that read “I am the cat lady”. However, the inside of the room was spectacular. There was a large shelf of TY cat collections, which was so abundant that it almost reached the ceiling. Also, there were portraits of her three cats that she had to turn in to a shelter in San Diego, and at least five cat art designs on her fridge, including the origami cat face we made together. Joan told me about her daughter, who is an FBI agent, and showed me a picture of her daughter sitting with Cesar Millan, the dog whisperer, and another dog named Steamer because Steamer was a bomb sniffer in Afghanistan and his poop always steamed. I found out that Joan used to be a cheerleader, teacher, and antique store owner from the pre-civil war era. As a result, her room was filled with various antiques such as a salt shaker and a music box from 1898. I had heard of record players but I had never seen a contraption like the music box. It had large disks with holes inside that played the music. Once Joan turned on the music box, the loud, harmonious sound filled the previously quiet and sullen hallway. Lastly, Joan showed me different portraits of her family and pictures of her with her 6ft 8’ husband, who had passed away of cancer at age 57. I am still amazed at how Joan lived her life to its fullest despite her ups and downs.
I could not have asked for a better day with Joan as she reminisced and told me about her entire life and how she is still willing to move forward despite her age. I love Joan the most because of her optimism and undying will to be active. Not many elderlies have this kind of spark, and I plan to continue working with Joan.