I go to the door and ask if I can help her. She tells me that she's waiting for a bus and wants to talk to me. She takes my arm and walks me towards the sidewalk.
I go with her because if she wants to start any trouble I know I can take her down because she's sooooo tiny. (Of course the thought didn't cross my mind until much later, that she could be a martial arts expert and could make mince meat of me in no time flat.)
She guides me to the front of the neighbour's house where she can sit on the fence and talk to me behind a tree but still keep an eye out for the bus.
The bus that she plans to take to an unknown destination so she can escape her awful family. She tells me they abuse her. She asks if she can sleep in my house for the night. RED FLAG!!
I told her all my children were home and I didn't have a spare bed. She said she would sleep on the floor. I realized way before this that she obviously had dementia and I couldn't let her on the bus for fear wherever her family was they'd be worried sick and wouldn't know where she was. So I told her I'd go ask my husband.
As I walked from behind the tree (she wanted to be behind the tree so her family couldn't see her) I saw another younger Asian lady standing on the other side of the road. I figured she was related so I went to talk to her.
She was the daughter and told me she had only just picked her mother up from somewhere else after she'd caught the bus. I told her that I would take 'Mary' (I knew her name because she kept introducing herself to me) into my house and wait for her husband to come talk to her in hopes she'd want to finally go home. I gave this woman my phone number and took Mary inside.
I had Mary help with peeling potatoes and cutting the ham in preparation for our meal....FULLY expecting the family to show up any minute.
After dinner she gets up to help clean up the dishes and I tell her to come sit with me because it was my husband's job to clean up. My 19year old daughter, Sarah comes and sits with us to chat. Mary keeps asking Sarah the same 4 questions over and OVER again. (Asking her age....if she had a boyfriend....how many children she teaches the piano to...how much she charges....if she likes teaching piano or going out to work...) Sarah keeps answering them and is very good about the whole thing.
At 9:30pm I made my way up to bed. Mary said "When you go sleep, I sleep. When you awake I get up". I knew Mary was tired and fully expected her to go to sleep right away.
My 12yr old son, Christian, was at a party and was being dropped off by a friend around 10. He comes up to the bedroom to ask if he could sleep over his friend's house and ran around getting his stuff together. I see him out the door...as quietly as I can...and head back up to bed.
I told the kids that when they go to bed that they should lock their doors tonight 'just in case'. Not fearing she'd harm us but surely wake us up.
Anyway... A few mins back in bed and I had this feeling I should go downstairs.
(Side note) About an hour before hand I got a phone call from the daughter asking if she could bring some food over for Mary because she left before dinner. I said we had plenty of food and had offered some to Mary but she kept saying she had eaten and wasn't hungry. And that right now she was asleep on the couch. The daughter offered to come get her. It was me who suggested she just stay the night and we'd see what we could do in the morning.
As I start going downstairs I see Mary, in her pj top over her clothing, making her way UPSTAIRS waving a broom.
Mary was agitated because she thought Michael was a robber and was upset with me because "You tell me you have one son, one daughter and now you tell me three son one daughter!!!". Mary said she couldn't stay here now and wanted to go home. That's all good.
So I call her family up (I had gotten the number earlier..just in case) and tell them that Mary wanted to come home now but wouldn't let me take her home. They would come get her.
Meanwhile I am bra-less (sorry if that's too much information..haha) and in a house dress I use that I am NEVER to be seen in public in.
Mary makes her way outside and I can't see the family for what seemed like ages. I tell her I'll walk with her but she's getting more and more agitated.Finally a car shows up and her son and daughter get out of the car.(it's only a matter of seconds rather than minutes but it's long enough.)
Well...Mary goes off her head and begins yelling in Chinese at her 'poisonous son'.
She takes off her shoe and goes to hit her daughter all the time and I have to stop her by getting in front of Mary and sometimes physically restraining her.
There is no way she's getting in the car with them so I tell them to go and I will take care of Mary.
Ohhhh the sadness in their eyes. The son was close to tears with not knowing what to do and with embarrassment that we were in the middle of this...and with gratitude. Of all the houses she came to she came to OURS. My heart is FULL for the opportunity I was given to do this.
Now Mary says she can't stay at our place because of this and that. She will sleep in the street. She will 'wait for car and run in front of. I not afraid to die. I want to die tonight.'
I knew I couldn't keep her here and she wasn't going to go home so I called the hospital and asked what I can do. They transferred my call to a help line.The help line says they need to get some information first. I told them ok but they'd better HURRY.
While I'm on the phone Mary thinks I'm calling the police and now has something more to be paranoid about.
I step outside to be out of earshot. Sarah and Michael are doing a WONDERFUL job talking to Mary and trying to keep her put and trying to calm her down.
Michael comes out to me telling me that it's all good for now because he started washing the dishes and asked if he could get some help. She started helping.
Isn't he clever??!!!
The lady on the phone is now transferring me to the ambulance. I call Mary's family on the other phone and let them know I'm getting help for them and will let them know later where she'll be etc.
(Everytime Mary is about to walk out the door, Sarah and Michael are finding little things for her to help with....covering the pumpkin pie.....finding room in the fridge for the pumpkin pie...etc)
I am now on the phone to the ambulance. They get a little information and will be around 'as soon as they can'. Which to me means we're not top priority and could take a long time.
I wait out the front for the ambulance with my 14yr old son Aaron. I figure Sarah and Michael have it all under control.
The ambulance shows up in just a few minutes. Sarah has now been able to get Mary to sit down on the couch. The ambulance driver calls the family before coming into the house and tells them which hospital she'll be taking her to.
Mary doesn't want to go with them but finally says "Fine! I angry! I go home!! I don't want go home but I go!" Mary wants to walk home but the ambos eventually talk her into letting them drive her 'home'.
I don't know where Mary is right now but I'm sure should she ever be at her place and up and leaves again, the Lord will guide her back to mine.
Through this entire experience I had two songs running through my mind. Both are ones I LOVE to hear and love to sing. They are: "A poor wayfaring man of grief" and "Because I have been given much".