Caring for Ms. Dalrymple

From the months of May to November of 2016, I visited a woman in her early 80s with severe arthritis (amongst other, more severe, health issues that prohibited her from basic movement and taking care of herself and her dog, Boingo) in order to service her many household needs. I had known this woman for some time, and though watching her grow old and incapable has been rather heartbreaking, I was more than ready to offer my services as an able young person. During these biweekly visits, I would do a variety of chores for Ms. Dalrymple (such as taking Boingo on long walks through the park, watering the numerous ferns and plants in her household, cleaning up the excrement Boingo had left scattered throughout the previous days, doing the dishes and preparing small meals, mopping and wiping the dust-bunnies and dirt lining her house, etc.) but perhaps the most taxing (while still somehow enjoyable) part of this experience was planting a fully functional vegetable garden in her backyard. This experience was one that I undertook foolishly, as I did not realize the time and tedium that goes into planting a garden of such a vibrant nature (as in one with plants). The cost of seeds, soil and fertilization alone was a blow to the confidence I had built up in preparation of this job. But, after a couple of days lining the outside walls of her backyard with soil, potting plants into flowerpots (and mostly into the soil itself), and researching the various germination methods of seeds, I began to find the project rather rewarding in what I learned from it. This project taught me the nature of working on a project tirelessly for a long stretch of time, only to be rewarded (with a striking garden) at the very end (instead of receiving small payoffs or incentives along the way to keep me interested/working). This project also taught me about self-sustainability and being able to live off of the land, a basic human skill that eluded me before I had this experience.

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