Daisy enrolled in hospice when she was 90 years old. Daisy was born in Kentucky, married when she was fifteen and immediately moved to a farm in Pike County, Ohio with her new husband. Daisy worked as a nurse’s aide and her husband owned and operated a small sawmill. She had been widowed for six years and had been living in the nursing home for about a year.
As part of my initial assessment I asked Daisy, “Do you have any children?” When Daisy answered, “No”, I suspected she read my assumption, because she added, “But I’ve never been without something to love. I’ve always surrounded myself with something to love. I taught Sunday school for years and I baked muffins for the children every Sunday. The children called me ‘The Muffin Lady’. I loved those little children and they were always on my lap. One day a little boy reached up and pulled on my string of pearls and broke them and the pearls rolled across the floor. I cherished those pearls because my dead husband had bought them for me. One of the ladies at church asked me, ‘Aren’t you mad?’ I told her, ‘No! I don’t have my string of pearls anymore but those little children are my pearls.’”
When Daisy moved into the nursing home she again surrounded herself with something to love. She shared, “I like to encourage the old people here. Some of them are so depressed and just sit in their rooms. But I’ve gotten a lot of them out of their rooms and involved in activities.” The nursing home Social Worker applauded Daisy, “Daisy is one of our best therapists.” I feel the need to remind you that Daisy was ninety years old.
Daisy eventually became bedfast and was unable to go from room to room to encourage the other residents. I asked Daisy “Is it hard for you now?” She thought for a moment and then replied, “No. I have a file of wonderful memories in my mind. And when I start feeling depressed I just pull out one and live it all over again.”
We can’t change the past, but we can choose how to spend our present and future. Starting today, from this moment on, we can choose to surround ourselves with something to love, on things which are eternally significant.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)
Loren Hardin is a social worker with SOMC-Hospice and can be reached at 740-357-6091 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can order Loren’s book, “Straight Paths: Insights for living from those who have finished the course” at Amazon and Barnes and Nobel.