Blog Post by Preston and Aimee Roth, Owners of Home Instead Senior Care in East Portland and Clackamas County
It was in the early 1970’s that Janice and her husband came to Portland, OR to settle and raise their children. Harry S. owned a furniture store and after weeks of Janice and her husband searching for someone who would extend credit to a young couple, Harry was the one that finally said “yes.” Little did anyone know that thirty years later they would meet again but this time it would be Janice who would change Harry’s life.
I described what would be her very first assignment, with a tough, stubborn old codger that refused to stay home from the store he owned, refused to accept help, refused to change his habits but was physically failing to provide for his own personal needs. Her role was not an easy one, nor a common one. She would provide for his safety at the store, keep him clean, and keep him away from the customers. At the end of the day she would have to talk him into her car and get him home. She accepted the assignment and when I told her Harry’s name, she said she knew him!
She was amazing. She is always amazing. She has been called a “miracle worker” by the families of all of the “challenging” Clients that she has met during her almost ten-year tenure with us. But the story about Harry doesn’t end there.
Harry’s sons, except for one, had taken over the furniture store. Jonathan, the youngest, and Harry had had a serious falling-out and had not spoken in almost twenty years. Harry mentioned Jonathan to Janice one evening shortly after Harry was diagnosed with an inoperable cancerous tumor and was given just a few months to live. Janice didn’t pry too much but as the next few weeks passed, she asked a few questions and learned a little more. She started working her magic and gave Harry some ideas. She gave Harry some reasons to mend the wound, cross the bridge, take that first step. One day, she arrived at the store and Harry said, “Take me home. We are going to call Jonathan.”
Within a week, Jonathan was able to come to see his father. They were able to talk and close the cavernous void between them. They were both able to heal from the hurt and came to know each other as humans, as men and as father and son. Harry was suddenly and finally at peace, more so than he had been in over two decades and maybe more than he had been in his whole life.
Janice knew Harry’s time was at hand. I had the on-call phone that evening when she called to say that she would be calling me again in the middle of the night. Janice knew it. Janice always knows it. Harry’s family had been there that afternoon and Harry did not need them that night. He just needed Janice. She helped him through. She helped him pass away to the next realm, assuring him that he had done everything just perfectly and that everything would be alright. We know Harry was grateful for Janice.
Jonathon was grateful to Janice, too. He made sure she was included like a family member as the family celebrated Harry’s life. His passing was three days before Janice’s birthday. This story happened 9 years ago. Every Dec 8th, without fail, our office gets a call from Jonathan asking if he can have flowers delivered to the office for Janice’s birthday, and we say yes.
I could fill a novel with stories about the miracle that is Janice Sherman. I have worked with her since she walked in the door and I have never been more proud and blessed by such an incredible being in our midst. She has been a coach and mentor to newer or less-experienced CAREGivers. She has been a solid, supportive angel in a room full of family tears. She has celebrated 100th birthdays with a few and held the hand of the passing of many more. She is the perfect combination of kindness, compassion, experience, intuition, humor, sass and stubbornness. You really ought to see her in action. One word… “incredible.”
She is a true ambassador of Home Instead Senior Care every day, in all aspects of her work. She lives “It’s Personal” in her unique way, always being the first to say that she loves her job and that she loves Home Instead Senior Care. Janice is a walking advertisement and a living testimonial. Seriously, she could work anywhere and, believe me, plenty of people have tried to steal her. She is incredibly loyal to Home Instead and always says that she would never leave.
I have met many of the National CAREGiver’s of the Year. I know of what I speak, having been here over twelve years myself. Janice Sherman is a champion CAREGiver, one that we all look up to, admire, respect, cherish and love. She deserves this award and I am proud to nominate her.
Preston and Aimee Roth