After retirement, my husband of thirty-eight years and I,
joined Good Samís - an organization of volunteers that helps
residents in a local rest home in the town where we live. It
was overwhelming to see these Senior Citizens, who once thrived
as we do now, hit health's rock bottom. Good Sam's is trying to help them bear their last days.
Volunteer work is an infant to me. I never realized the need
nor the power of a hug. A gentle touch of your hand brings
beams of light to their eyes. It warms my soul to know such
inexpensive gestures are rich pockets of hope to their hearts.
Their eyes follow you hoping you'll have news from their son or
daughter or spouse.
One little lady who still combs dark hair but has wrinkles
dance on her face, motioned me to her. "Will you do something
for me?" She asked.
"Sure," I replied as she put her hands together then
caressed my earrings.
"Please tell my son it is time for him to come get me. I
have to go home," she spoke as softly as a Dove but with tears in
her heart. Her son had just left.
As I gazed into her eyes, I wondered how her son coped with
her deterioration. He had to feel worse than I did. Not knowing
her when her mind was keen and sharp, but realizing he did, made me understand how he could come to this decision to put her here. And
what a decision it must have been for him to transport her here
and leave her. She still has hope he will return and take her back to her familiar surroundings.
I smiled and said, "I'll look into it." Joy covered her
face and she put her hands together again.
"You are beautiful. I'll be good. This time Iíll be good.Ē
My heart hit the floor. The early days at Good Samís were
difficult for me; to watch the decline of people who once shone
and performed in ways the rest of us take for granted every day.
How powerful to realize Pat and I could end up just like them.
Our boy's homes stretch out miles away from us, and we'd be left
alone like many of them here.
In the meantime, I'm afraid our help out there has ricocheted. For the joy that has come to us with this volunteer plan, has surpassed us with more gratification than we ever knew would happen or would be
possible. And we can't believe our small gestures of help
make them feel better than it makes us feel. To see them smile,
to feel their grasp, is short of seeing your first grandson
for the first time. Volunteering is the greatest feeling I've experienced in ages.
President Bush strongly encourages everyone to do volunteer
work. If you have time, I would petition you to check into this
endeavor in the area where you live. You'll experience feelings
you've not owned before, and your rewards will be great.
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