My First Client Died

I’ve now being working for Meals on Wheels for almost a year and a half. And one of the things I’ve dreaded, since the largest part of my clientele is elderly and in bad health, is one of them passing away.

Well, three weeks ago one of my regulars missed because she had gotten sick on the bus ride to the center. A week ago I called to check up on her to see if she’d be in, but got no answer or return phone call. Today I overheard some others talking, saying they couldn’t believe someone had just died over the weekend. Since I didn’t catch who they said, I asked them to repeat this information. I now wish I hadn’t. :frowning:

It was our beloved Judy. It seems that she caught pneumonia and ended up in the hospital before she left us on Saturday. She’d previously been in really good health and was the sweetest and refined lady you’d ever hope to meet. I’m really going to miss her and hate my job for constantly having this as something I’ll have to deal with. It made me hug my other seniors all that much closer.

Sorry for the rambling-ness of this post. I really didn’t know what to say except that she’s gone much too soon and I’d give anything to have her back again for just one more round of bingo (which she loved). So here’s to you Judy. May you rest in peace and know that you won’t easily be forgotten.

It’s a hard thing to deal with. I was a personal services volunteer for a blind woman for eight years before she died. It’s been about five years, and I’m still frequently reminded of her. She loved American Idol, and for some reason always referred to Harry Potter as “Harry Potterman.”

In Judaism, we say that those who have died live on in the hearts of those who cherish their memories. As long as you have fond memories of Judy, she lives on.

My condolences.

I’m so sorry for your loss, faithfool. She sounds like a wonderful lady.


I am sorry to hear your news. Sending supporting thoughts your way!

I just want to say thank you for your work with Meals On Wheels. My father-in-law, 88, lives in Chicago, almost 1800 miles from us, and the MOW has been a real life-saver. Now we know he at least eats a really good meal every day, and not just doughnuts and crap like he was.

I’m so sorry to hear that,** faithfool**.

Hugs and good wishes to you and all of Judy’s friends and family.


Thank you for what you do (I know I know, you didn’t post what you did to be thanked, but thank you just the same), and condolences on the loss of your friend. Judy (it feels funny to type that; it’s my name too) sounds like she was a very nice lady, and clearly loved by many.

So sorry faithfool I can relate, living in nursing homes for 4 years, I became friends with MANY residents. At a get together with other clients of the program I used to be discharged, leaned one had died (at an earlier one, bumped into a resident of the home the state shut down)

I, too, can relate to what you’re going through. I worked in the home nursing field for a number of years. After watching, first-hand, as two of my mother’s siblings died of cancer, I had requested from the agency that employed me, that I not be sent out to hospice patients. But one night they called me. The nurse that was supposed to go in had called in sick. They couldn’t find anyone else. If I didn’t go, the family was going to have to have Mary (the patient) transferred to the hospital by ambulance. So I went.

It was an eight-hour shift, and upon seeing Mary, my first thought was “She’s not going to live eight hours”. Sure enough, she didn’t. She died about five hours into my shift. I was left to deal with the grieving family. :frowning:

It was tough.

I had a few other patients, some of them to whom I’d become attached to some degree, die over the years. Only two more while I was actually on duty.

I can tell you that, unfortunately, it never gets easy. But maybe that is fortunate, after all. I’m guessing if it had gotten easy for me at any point, I’d have had to wonder about my basic level of humanity and compassion.


Thank you all so much. The stories from those who’ve been there are especially helpful now. It’s just been such a sad day, you know? I’m going to miss Judy something awful and have no idea how I’ll be prepared for the next go 'round. But I do truly love my job and I know that this is something I’ll just have to do my best with each time. I’m glad I have the Dope to share stuff with. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to get alone without it.

So very easy to become attached, isn’t it, hon? Right after I got out of high school one of my very forst jobs was as an orderly in a nursing home.

My Dad got me the job, because, as he said, I needed “taking down a notch or two”.

I started off hating it, but as time wore on I began looking forward to seeing those elderly veterans and hearing their stories during my breaks.

And losing one to death was very painful and many tears were shed as one by one they died.

It must have been that way for you as well, and I offer my sincere condolences, my friend.



At one time I was a grocery getter for mobile meals and I shopped for the two of the sweetest people in the world. I still remember how the Mrs. loved her sugar free popsicles! They were such a delight to visit. When the Mr. ended up in the nursing home due to breathing troubles, she ended up there, too because she couldn’t take care of herself. The both passed on within a couple weeks of each other. It was so hard to see.

But you can always cherish the time that you spent with Judy.

I’m so sorry for your loss. Please, feel free to share stories of her life with us, if you feel that would be of comfort.

I’m really sorry for your loss. You are a great person and a testament to caregivers everywhere.

Warmly seconded. Keep up the good work, and savor the memories you have.

You all don’t know how much comfort you are. Thank you so much for all the kind words. It’s made getting through yesterday all the much easier. And when I can, I’ll post some Judy stories. She truly was a remarkable lady.

Thanks again friends.


We’re keeping you and Judy’s family in our prayers. Thank you so much for what you do: having worked in a nursing home, I know it’s hard. Thanks for sharing a bit of her with us.

I, erm, seem to have gotten something in my eye. And my other eye…

One more voice in the “condolences and thank you for doing what you do” chorus, faithfool.

Sorry for your loss, faithfool. I have a feeling that your kind heart will have you celebrating the lives of many more to come.

Here’s to you helping hundreds more Judys.

“To live in the hearts we leave behind
Is not to die”.

It is said that we’re not “gone” until there is no one left who remembers us.

To cherish the memory of one who has passed over is a special task. Your Judy would
be pleased and proud that she made such an impression on you, and to know you will
remember her for years to come is a better memorial than many of us could hope for.

an seanchai