‘It’s so good to see you’ and ‘thank you for coming’ are frequent responses to our arrival, although not all the older people we visit are quite so appreciative!
Some take us for granted, while some are in such pain as to blot out other considerations. Others are eager to share their life stories with us, and it is humbling to be entrusted with their confidences.
‘What happens afterwards?’ ‘Will I see my loved ones again?’ ‘ Do you think hell really exists?’ are all questions our Anna Friends have to field from time to time.
And we have also had to say goodbye to dear friends with whom we have prayed, shared the Bible and discussed deep issues. While others we meet just want a good laugh!
Some of the people we visit phase in and out of this reality; others are conscious but can no longer clearly communicate. Yet the gleam in speaking eyes when we arrive and the touch of their hands when we leave shows that we are important to them, and often we are their only visitor.
One thing is for sure: our visiting is rarely dull, and mostly very rewarding. Most of our Anna Friends say they get more than they give.
So where do we go from here?
Our July statistics show that we continue to have a significant impact – in that month we made 372 visits to 159 residents and householders at six local care Homes and three private homes. In August, during our summer break, it was 240 visits to 106 residents.
We need more resources for this work: we need two more Trustees and two more members on our Management Committee – and we need more Anna Friends.
But in the final analysis, all we need is faith, hope and love − and the greatest of these is love …