Saturday, April 27, 2013
A story for today.....
Thank you to those of you who donated to the cause. It really is so worthwhile. Knowledge is power.
Today I have a story to tell you all. A friend of mine died early this morning. He was a newer friend, made in the last year or so. We worked together and shared a couple jobs with each other. When I first met him I was kind of fascinated by him, because there aren't very many men caregivers in our area. None that I know of, actually. We would see each other when I came to relieve him and start my shift. I would come in and he would be back in the bedroom sitting with our little Hospice client who was dying from his very advanced Alzheimers disease...my friend would be holding his hand and reading out loud to him in his quiet steady voice. It always choked me up...it was just such an act of kindness and respect to our client who had been a gifted musician and teacher with a great sense of humor.
As we got to know each other I began to hear his story. I won't share it here out of respect for his privacy...but let it be said, that he had a past. He found recovery at 47 years old and immersed himself in that life for 10 years until his death. He facilitated groups in rehab facilities, he volunteered with Hospice and various other agencies, took some geriatric classes hoping to get his degree in geriatric studies, and eventually became a caregiver. The above client was his first long term client and the other thing that struck me about him was that he asked questions. He was humble.
After our client passed away, I asked him to come to a couple other jobs with me. I loved having him in my back pocket to refer out. He was such a kind and gentle man with all sorts of various skills to offer.
When he found out he was sick he minimized it all for the first few weeks, until it was impossible to do so any longer. Soon he was bedridden and I offered to come and spend Thursdays with him. I got to have two Thursdays with him and what gifts those days were to me. I got to watch a family mobilize and jump into action out of love and acceptance of their uncle, brother, son, friend. It was beautiful. I was able to share with him how much I admired and respected him and the impact he had on me. Part of that respect came from knowing a little of his past. I know, we all do, how hard it is to extricate yourself from that life....and he had done it by the grace of God. He lived his last 10 years in recovery and doing good for his community and his fellowship and himself.
This last Thursday there was a steady flow of his friends coming in to see him. I met his little parents...an adorable, simple, little country couple. They went in and sat with him for awhile and when the mama came out I told her how much I respected her son and what a kind and gentle man he is/was. She said, "Thats true. I do think he done some good in this world." Then got choked up and turned to leave.
In that moment I thought of all of us mama's who read and post here. It was such a moving encounter and I knew that she and I shared such a deep heart place that other mom's, thankfully, never know. How long had she waited for her son to get well, how many nights had she laid awake worrying about what he was out doing, how many tears were shed and prayers had she murmured laying there in the dark?
What a beautiful thing that he had 10 years. That she got to watch this wonderful man unfold before her eyes and become someone with honor who could hold his head high. It showed me that there is always hope. Its never too late. I think of her joy at her boy being whole and giving and loving and a contributing member of society. A vital member of society.
My friend died a good and honorable death, surrounded by love and care. So much love and care. The last day I was with him, a friend came and rubbed his arms with lavender oil, gently massaged his feet...everyone that came wanted to give something to him. A back rub, a foot rub, hold his hand...he was so loved and will be so missed.