The word last week that a thirty plus employee submitted her retirement is worth noting. Virginia Davis, a nurse aide, was trained in our home for the position many years ago. Prior to coming here, Virginia was a hired domestic caregiver for a family of four children, of which all but one are no longer living. She continues to enjoy contact with that remaining “son” and his family. Virginia took a position in another facility for $1.99 per hour and was told by a nurse that there was an opening here that may be to her liking because of our family atmosphere. She was hired the same day she applied, and for a wage of $2.99 per hour! (The nurse who recommended her is still employed in our home, as well!)
My conversation with her last week illustrated just how proud she was of attaining the nurse aide certification. Virginia was the caregiver for many on various units during her time here. She was proud of the time when she worked on the fourth floor priests’ residence, remembering what great “teamwork” was evident in caring for some of the infirm. (This unit is no longer in existence).
Virginia and I shared many conversations through the years, some of them jovial and some not so much. Many times I would ask Virginia what is was that brought her to our home daily, and she would not hesitate to say “The Residents!”
It is bittersweet that her booming voice and even larger personality will no longer fill our halls. Clearly Virginia could have put herself first several years ago, but instead could not separate herself from the Residents. Caring for them in whatever capacity she was able was her number one love. It brought her joy and gave her purpose. She enjoyed coming here day after day, year after year.
Whether you agreed with her or not, Virginia would always greet co-workers with a hearty “Hi Baby.” No matter whom she encountered—co-workers, Residents, Sisters, family members—laughter always followed. She pretended to come to my office for a piece of chocolate candy, and I’m sorry to say there were some days when her visits were at an inopportune time. However, one could not resist her charms and there was usually laughter by the time we parted company. I will miss those visits. I will also miss Virginia’s honesty—she was not afraid to speak her mind.
I am glad Virginia will take some time to enjoy retirement, but I know it will be hard for her to sit still, especially when the afternoons roll around and in her mind she needs to “get to work” on time. When the weather is not ideal and Virginia realizes she doesn’t have to deal with the Parkway traffic in the rain and snow, I just hope she smiles and remembers to take her overnight bag out of the trunk—packed in the event she could not get home!