Today I have just a little story that has absolutely nothing to do with divorce (because sometimes it just doesn’t have to be all about me)…
My mom is 86, extremely frail and fighting lung cancer. Understandably, sometimes depression and confusion set in, especially when she’s got an infection of some sort. That was the case this week, so she spent a little time in a senior adult mental health center. It’s a nice place – nothing like those yucky places portrayed in the movies; with lovely, devoted staff people. In most cases, the patients are only there temporarily for acute delirium brought on by medication or sickness – not long-term dementia. So it’s just kind of a little short-term visit to the cuckoo’s nest, I guess.
My brother went to visit my mom yesterday at lunchtime. She was eating in the communal dining room with four other patients. Next to each person’s plate was the little slip from the kitchen with his or her lunch order on it.
My mom was excited to see my brother and eagerly introduced him to each of her lunch companions. She then confided that she was relieved to see him because they didn’t know how they were going to pay for their meal. He replied that they didn’t have to pay; the meal was included in their stay.
My mother – and her tablemates – disagreed. They were convinced that they were going to have to pay for the lunch and nobody had any money (I guess the hospital gowns didn’t have a place for their wallets). What were they going to do?
Now – you pretty much have to picture this. Here’s my brother; trying to explain to these five elderly (and admittedly not-all-there, albeit temporarily) folks that the slips weren’t bills for the meal. He could see that the anxiety this was producing was preventing them from enjoying their meal (and he correctly realized that he wasn’t going to convince them otherwise).
He did the only thing he could. He told them that he would take care of it.
Can you imagine the gratitude? The adulation? The relief that he brought to these five old people? They were so happy. They each solemnly gave him their meal slip. One lady hugged him. The man across the table gave him the thumbs up sign.
He made their day.
And when he told me, he made mine.