By Judy Reiss
This Sunday was a wonderful day for me. Since, oh probably right after Christmas I have not been able to go to church. Not because I didn’t want to go but because I was either in the hospital or in Mayo’s Rehabilitation Center. And believe me, it is harder to figure out how to go than it sounds. But now I have been home for almost a month, I think, I still haven’t gone and now all I do is feel guilty. But this very morning my very good friend Donna Dalton called me and told me she was going to pick me up at 10:30 and we would go to Mass together. And we did. And not only did we go, we met my Godmother in the parking lot, who is a dear, dear friend who I haven’t seen forever! So, I was able to go to church and visit with someone who means the world to me. And just as I thought my day couldn’t get any better, Donna offered to take me to Northfield so I could visit with my favorite resident at Mayo’s.
So, over hill and dale we went and surprised my dear friend Irene Cook as she was finishing her lunchtime dinner. And I am happy to tell you she was really surprised and very happy to see us. I was also glad to see others who I knew and remembered me from my stay with them. And it was then that I started to think about all the other residents. And believe it or not, when I got home my son and his family were there, which included my two grandsons. As I was telling them about my visit to Mayo, Nicholas, my 10-year-old grandson mentioned his visit to me when I cracked my head and the huge lump had and how he had left my room and found an older man who was sitting alone and looked sad. So, he sat down by him and started to talk to him. I guess they had quite a good time and a long conversation and a good time was had by both of them. And Nick assured me that he felt bad when he had to leave because the man told him he never had any visitors and how much he enjoyed talking to him.
And that was when I remembered that I had been thinking the same thing when I left Irene. How many residents of various nursing homes and resident homes feel the same way? No matter how good care they receive or how kind and friendly the nursing staff is, they aren’t family or close friends. And I know that you can’t force them not to drop off their loved ones and not come to see them. These days life goes by too fast and I think that the elderly are thought of as past their prime and their usefulness. It is one thing to think about your old relatives but put yourself in their place and I am sure you will think a lot differently.
So take some time and think about all those elderly folks who would just like to have a visitor who would be glad to have a talk and to chat about their past and their interesting lives. And believe me, a 10-year-old is really a great conversationalist and Little League is more interesting to hear about than you might think. So offer your children or their church group or Girl Scout Troop the opportunity to go chat and visit and you will be amazed at how much both participants will enjoy it. Plus, today’s children need to be able to share themselves with people who they really don’t know, at least at first! Let them spread their wings and share all their lives and adventures with someone who no longer has adventures that they are able to share!