I think I’ve forgotten how to write. I don’t think I’ve had the heart for it. As I write this, I can’t even imagine how I’m going to finish. For over 3 months I’ve had a job that I did not like, but, at the same time, I’m very grateful to have kept my job. Maybe I didn’t like my job because I felt like I had no clue what I was doing managing a building and maintenance crews. I felt like I was winging it every single day. I do not like that feeling. It’s so unsettled. Thank goodness there are professionals out there that do this for a living. They helped step me through it. The fed me my first hot meal. I will say that this has been an experience that I will never forget. I have learned so much about things that I never wanted to know about! You would not believe how many toilets are in this building!

I had a lot of days were I didn’t feel needed or appreciated. But, most days I was starving to hear the sounds of laughter, singing, music, and people complaining that something was taking too long to load on their computer! I missed the wonderful smells coming out of the kitchen. I missed taking care of our residents and staff. I miss everyone’s families. Over the last year they have all become part of my extended family.

There it is. I need to take care of people. I need to take care of a building full of people. I need to be needed. I need the relationships I have with residents and staff. I noticed I say ‘I’ a lot. So, I’m going to switch to ‘we’.

We have been working very hard and we are ready to bring people home! Our residents have been away from home too long. When we evacuated we all expected to be home by the weekend. We had a lot of staff join our residents in other facilities to continue to care for them and give them a familiar face. Talk about ROCK STARS! A lot of our staff who made the decision to work 300 miles away slept on cots in a conference room in the facility they were working in just so they could take care of your friends, family, and neighbors.

We are ready. By the time you read this we are all home. Please come in and see us. It’s really pretty! We miss you all. Remember to treat everyone with importance and always be kind.

Shelly Cain is the director of Cross Shores Senior Center in Port St. Joe