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Rumor had it that he was the angel of death. All the ladies who wore tight, white or silver curls delivered to them in the beauty shop were convinced he was the angel of death. He came to work each day wearing his outfit, scrubs that were a slightly different color. That was their first clue and then the last two times somebody passed away, he was seen entering their room—only minutes before their death.
Mildred Myers lived by the window in room 303B, and she kept tabs on the angel of death. His real name was Oliver, but nobody who knew referred to him as Oliver. Each day Mildred would roll her wheelchair up and down the hall after Oliver arrived, making little notes on her tablet and highlighting the things she wanted the others to know. She secretly had a huge crush on him, even though she was 82 and he was probably in his 30s, it didn't matter. The heart knew no age, but Mildred was too embarrassed about her crush to let any of the other women know. She had confided in her daughter, both about the angel of death and the crush she had on him, but her daughter wouldn't tell anybody.
Mildred's dementia was getting worse, but there was nothing the doctors could do other than what they were already doing. Science simply had not found a usable cure for dementia. Mildred maintained a great attitude in spite of her dementia, and she would joke with the girls who worked there about how forgetful she was and they all loved her because of her positive attitude. They also loved her because she treated them well and was pleasant with them. If one of the girls came to work and she was tired because she was working two jobs, or maybe was up all night with her baby, or even if she was simply tired, Mildred would sit in her recliner and insist the girl take a nap in her bed. She pulled the curtain around her side of the room indicating she wanted privacy and kept it that way until the girl had taken a nap. Mildred had a kind heart.
The days went on and soon Mildred was angered because one of her friends had passed away that morning and Oliver was nowhere to be found. How was her friend going to walk over the bridge to heaven if the angel of death wasn't there to take her? She began to think Oliver was a fraud, and instead of speaking highly of him, she began thinking he was spying on her. She would make a red "X" in her diary and beside her photos to indicate the ones she was sure Oliver had looked at, read, or gone through. Why he was spying on her she didn't know, but it was obvious to her that he was.
One pretty spring day Mildred's daughter stopped by with her husband and brought Mildred some candy kisses. Candy kisses are wrapped in foil paper, and instead of pulling the small paper on the top to remove the foil, Mildred simply popped the entire candy in her mouth and began to chew. Her son-in-law noticed and sat there, unwrapping all the individual candies for her rather than saying a thing. He also had a good heart. The next time her daughter visited Mildred was almost unaware that she was around. Her daughter gave her a complete manicure and she was incoherent the entire time. The only thing she talked about was the angel of death, and how she would go to her grave loving him.
Mildred passed away early one evening, bringing about a large flood of tears from the girls who worked there and loved her. They respected the fact she was no longer in misery but missed her dearly. Oliver was present the night Mildred died.
Dementia does not get as much publicity as Alzheimer's, but it is very devastating all the same. It is difficult to watch someone you love slip away and know there is nothing you can do. Perhaps the future will hold more hope for victims of dementia.