I was fired today. Well, really, I was let go, given my walking papers, politely told to hit the highway. It was a relief actually, though I couldn't say that in the moment. And it wasn't my regular job, which I am leaving in a few weeks anyway. It was an extremely part-time, somewhat nebulous gig where I spent time with a physically incapacitated person as a kind of friendly companion, someone to talk with and maybe browse the Internet and YouTube with for things of interest.
This person lived in a facility where most of the other residents were mentally incapacitated, absented by dementias of various types. It was a sobering proposition to be there in the midst of human frailty, to see the unraveling that might well await me or the people I love. I was at a loss at this job. I was more like a stressful obligation than a friendly companion, someone for my client, my employer, to entertain or humor. As I attempted to fill the time in interesting, but not pushy, ways, I also did this distancing philosophical dance, an attempt to come to terms with the erosion of memory, skills, and self that happens with dementia, to accept how a body can turn on itself. It was in the air in this place, in the people and the smells and sounds and confusion of minds.
So the job is done. I do not have to think about these things any more. I can focus on the future, building a business, carrying the weight of people I can help and connect with, and tell myself I have years to go, years, before I am a lost soul unable to even sort through the crumbling bins in my head.