I worked at the nursing home this weekend. I have taken some time off for various reasons and have genuinely missed being around those beautiful people. I’ve missed the staff as much as the residents.
I’ve written before about the married couples that reside here and I feel we are fortunate that we have the opportunity to be part of their lives. There’s something special about sitting with them. Once the door shuts you are sitting in their living room. There are various pieces of artwork, recliners, little refrigerators and pictures. Lots of pictures.
They talk about their relationship with gentle banter playing off each other. We have had couples that have been married for as long as 76 years. When one of the spouses begin to decline you will witness a part of the human experience and journey that few people are blessed to see or be a part of.
The remaining spouse, be it male or female, becomes the caregiver. They want to feed their mate.. Take them the bathroom. Wipe their brow and give them comfort rarely leaving their side. When their mate dies the remaining survivor usually must find new purpose. They often maintain the same routine that they shared with their mate. Whether it was playing bingo or a glass of wine in the evening or just sitting outside at the same time everyday.
So Saturday as I was pulling in to work I saw one of the residents outside. She had recently lost her husband. Every morning she and her husband would sit outside in the sun. This morning she was sitting outside in the sun with her hands in her lap, her head slightly tilted back, sunglasses on and just a faint smile on her face.
I don’t know what she was thinking but I know I thought ” she looks like a bird on a wire…” Some humans mate for life.
Entry and exit are both the same
though we call them each by a different name
Through birth we enter with wrinkled hands and face
longing for the comfort of our mothers embrace
blinded by light gasping for breath
we are laid gently upon mothers chest
We cannot walk nor can we stand yet we know
we are safe just touching her hand
We cannot walk nor can we stand yet
we know we are safe if you just hold our hand
We lie in this bed with wrinkled hands and face
longing for the comfort of that special embrace
blinded by light gasping for breath we lay our
youthful face upon our Fathers chest
Now I hope you understand they are the same
we just know them by different names
So if you have fears lay them to rest
one is called birth the other is death
A friend of mine posted these words and I immediately thought, how simple, yet how profound.
What if we lived our lives with that mantra. Life is right here. Right now. It is not about our past accomplishments or past failures. It is about today. This moment in time. It is about how and what impact we have on those around us. One action or reaction can have an indelible imprint on others lives and we might never be aware that it has happened.
What if we loved the same way. Right here. Right now. How much more respect and passion would be poured into our relationships if we didn’t let the past be a part of the present or inhibit our future because of fear.
Working in a nursing home presents many opportunities for ” right here. right now”. That is all someone stricken with Alzheimer’s has. They don’t have yesterday and tomorrow never comes for them.
In fact, the only time they can grasp yesterday is when they are laying in their beds .Their chest does not rise often and you hold their hand and whisper to them, “It’s ok to let go. You are safe. And the angels are here to embrace you. Right here. Right now.
https://youtu.be/8q182kWAhiM I do not know why my past history has been so heavy on my heart the last couple of days. I think I really do know. One of my sisters sent me a photo of my parents graves this week. She had put some beautiful flowers on their grave. The picture unleashed a flood of memories. While most of the memories were good they brought with them an introspection of my life. I have hurt so many people in almost every way that you could you possibly imagine.
Though I know God has forgiven me I carry them with me. I guess this is my penance for the pain that I have left behind me. That’s fair enough.
One of those memories reminds me of my salvation. At the age of 47 I was baptized. I hear people say they accepted Christ into their lives at the age of 7 or 10 or even 12. I think that is great but I do not believe that at that age they can fully understand the power of that act. At the age of 47 I KNEW that He literally saved my life.
I had seen friends die with the needle in their arm. I had shook my head that another has been found dead dropped on the side if the road riddled with bullets. The cops didn’t care. It was just one more drug dealer for them to try to catch. I didn’t care because in my mind at the time it meant there were just more addicts that needed a new source to feed their addictions. Business was booming. I have done or had someone else do horrible things to people who owed me money. Everyone else would pay if you just hurt one or two a year.
I have never been able to apologize to all the people I have hurt on this dark road I traveled for so many years. Maybe that is why I can’t put those memories to rest. I know many of you may look upon me differently. But you don’t know what it’s like
When there is jubilation in the room as life is pushed from the womb
We are there.
If your child scrapes his chin or the bone sticks through the skin
We are there.
If you are lying in the road under a car that somehow rolled
We are there
When the soldier cries out and falls we will crawl through it all
We are there
When your fathers in the bed and before you get there he’ll be dead
We are there
When the grief is too much to bear and you need a shoulder to share
We are there
When it’s your time to go take comfort and always know
We are there
Sometimes when we get home and we’re sitting all alone
We may cry or we may just stare
Our God made us this way so we get up every day and give
And our gift is care.
Union County Nursing Home
they sat in judgment of Him and convicted Him with lies
He was sentenced to be scourged
to hang on the cross until He died
we heard the cries of his mother
as they spit upon Him and threw stones
and we heard the crack of the whip
as it tore His flesh away from bone.
i don’t know how He took it
why He wasn’t already dead
then they wrapped him in a robe
and put thorns upon His head
they lined the streets and jeered at Him
they laughed when He fell
then He staggered to His feet
and continued up the hill
they nailed Him to the cross
i heard the hammer ring
i knew that it would not be long
before He felt deaths sting
He suffered the humility
He suffered through the pain
and heads still bow and knees still
bend at the mention of His name
some believe He died that day
suffering on that hill
but two thousand years later
He lives within us still
Today is our mothers birthday. She would have been eighty-seven today. There is no thank you needed for doing what I should have so obviously done. I truly believe God put me in a place in my tumultuous life to be right there at that exact time.
While being a familial caregiver takes it’s toll on the individual providing the care it also provides ONLY that individual the rewards. The private moments. The intimacies that no one else will ever know about. The great struggles and the small successes that mean so much. The smile or the look of gratitude in their eyes that express an emotion that no words can capture.
Although one may sacrifice their health. Strip the emotions raw. The price is so very small to pay. Just to hear the words in the still of the night as you lay half awake in case they need you….Nighty Night…I love You…