Before you read another word PLEASE, PLEASE watch these two short videos. They are just about five minutes each.
If you have been reading my blog for a while you are aware of the power that music plays in my life. I could write my life in song. I’m sure most everybody must feel the same way.
These videos are not just about music. They are also about the debt we, as a society, owe the aged. Some people believe that sometimes people just out live there usefulness or their ability to contribute to society in any way has come and gone.
These tend to be people who are so caught up in their own lives that they would truly rather not be bothered. I’m not saying that everyone should quit work and make an unreasonable commitment that would lead to financial ruin. What I’m saying is that there are so many of us who cannot give those few hours a week or a weekend to be a part of the lives to the people that help make us the people we are today.
And if you want to believe that they can contribute nothing to society then stop and examine…deeply… the emotions you felt while watching those two videos. If you can honestly tell me you didn’t want to clap and give a big WooHoo for Gladys and you didn’t want to sing with Henry then I can honestly tell you that you are dead on the inside and there is nothing REAL that you can contribute to society or that you are a true sociopath.
…He’s got the whole world…
Sunday mornings seem to carry a certain aura for me. I don’t know why, or how, they just do. The world seems to be at peace with itself on Sunday morning. Some of it is for obvious reasons. There is not as much traffic noise because most of the people do not have to work. But it goes beyond that to me.
The geese seem content. There is not the raucous ” laughter ” of the ducks. I don’t here the dogs barking up on the mountain. Even the wind seems to take the day off. The screech of the hawk doesn’t greet me when I walk out the door and the caw of the crow is silent.
It is similar to being in church. I feel that if I were to say a word it would be disruptive to the quiet reflection the entire world is enjoying at this moment. It is a time for thanks and the realization of how truly great He is. There is a saying around here that the reason mountain folk are so spiritual is because they are a little ” closer ” to God.
I don’t know how much truth is in that statement but what I do know is that I can’t look out my window, or walk down the street, without being in complete awe of His majesty. I hope that wherever you may live that you are blessed with the same emotion everyday…and especially on Sunday morning.
I have decided that I want to do for other elderly people what I did for my father. One of the most challenging and yet rewarding endeavors I have ever undertaken was that of caregiver. It tapped into corners of my psyche that I didn’t know existed. It also pulled emotions from my being that I knew existed but thought I was beyond experiencing any more.
Today I went to pick up paperwork from a nursing home that gives the classes and testing for CNA certification. I took a sample test online and passed it with ease without taking any classes. After eight years of twenty four hour service as the primary caregiver for my father there is not a lot that I haven’t done. But that certification is paramount to getting your foot in the door.
The nursing home was modern, large and appeared to be well staffed but there was something that made me want to stop and kneel down and spend some time with every resident I passed. It was the look they had on their faces. Most had a lost or hopeless expression. Some would seem surprised or excited when I said “Good Morning!” with a genuine smile.
I realized then that I was a good son. I had told my father when he was initially diagnosed with Parkinson’s that he would never see the inside of a nursing home as long as I was alive and I never waivered from that commitment. I know that the majority of people could not have had the ability to do what I did. Not from the lack of wanting to but because of their own obligations to their wives or jobs.
I believe my life was orchestrated by God Himself to make me available to fulfill that pledge I made to my father so many years ago. I am not married. My son is grown and lives in California, three thousand miles away. There was no reason when the time came that I could not leave my job and honor my father by honoring my pledge.
After my father died and even before then I had said I would never again care for anyone else in that capacity. But I can’t help myself. I believe that giving aid to the elderly is what God has planned for me. I would actually like to work with hospice if I had my choice. Death is something we all have to deal with. Most of us several times before we ever face our own.Giving comfort at that most critical time can make the crossing over a beautiful experience for the individual who is passing, the family that is grieving and the caregiver who is trying to give solace to both.
I would like to see a facility that allows ” no vacancy” in their residents or on their premises. That every resident be engaged personally several times a day. Someone to talk to them and more importantly listen to them. I believe they all have something they want to say…they just feel like nobody wants to listen.
Yesterday my two sisters drove up from Macon to visit me in Blairsville. A round trip of 500 miles just to spend a night and a day with me in the mountains. We sat around last night reminiscing over the past eight years journey that we and our parents have made. We laughed a lot and cried a little but sharing the warmth of the fire and the interwoven experiences of siblings kept the twenty-five degree mountain night at bay.
This morning I wanted them to experience what I have for the last three mornings. We bundled up and went outside to watch the birth of a new day. The geese were taking flight, the beating of their wings splashing in the water until just their tips would touch before taking full flight and barely clearing the tree line on the far side of the lake. They flew directly into the sunrise until they rose above the silhouette of the mountains in the background.
The sun began to crest the peaks and spray it’s glorious light through the branches, Illuminating the mist with a kaleidoscope of color from the fall leaves and onto the lake below. I walked down to the water and it was then that the three of us heard it…it was the hawk. As God and my two sisters are my witness, this majestic bird landed in the top of the tallest tree by the lake.
I turned with excitement and pointed at the bird…the symbol of my fathers freedom from Parkinson’s.
The bird turned to face the sun, standing tall and straight, and let the warmth of a new beginning chase the darkness of the night from his soul. So I did the same.
My sister took these pictures this morning and when I turned around and looked at her tears were streaming down both of our faces. I don’t know what she was thinking but I know I was thinking ,” This must be what Momma and Daddy saw!! This is the Altar of God! This is His church that He built. Not of mortar and stone but of the beauty of life that He created.
I don’t care what religion you practice or if you don’t practice at all…THIS is paradise.