For two years, Gene McGhee has been getting tons of visitors from the daycare across the street. It’s the highlight of his day!
However, every time they drop by, for him, it’s like they’re visiting for the first time.
The reason this happens is because Gene has severe dementia. His short term memory has gotten so bad that his memory resets about every 15 minutes. And yet, without fail, he finds himself drawn to go outside and sit in a chair on his front lawn around the same time each day… the same time the daycare students come to visit.
“Every day I cross the street and we meet again,” Megan Nunez, the children’s daycare teacher said.
For about an hour, her students and Gene keep each other company. Sometimes they talk, but other times, Gene joins in on their games which includes dancing! But no matter what they do, their time together never fails to make him smile.
His daughter, Cathy, couldn’t be more grateful for this unexpected friendship.
“Oh my goodness, they have been such a blessing to daddy,” Cathy said. “And he lights up.”
When asked if the reason he always goes outside is that he remembers that something good will happen if he does, she replied: “Exactly. Because it’s love. And, you know, everybody responds to love.”
Even though the daycare students are a bit too young to understand what’s going on with Gene, they don’t need a detailed explanation to be his friend.
They just know that their friend is sick, and because of that, his brain works differently. But that doesn’t change the fact that they love each other and enjoy spending as much time with him as possible.
“We always tell the kids that his brain is kind of sick,” Megan said. “But his heart remembers us.”
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