Patricia had been praying for the well-being of the sons who abandoned her and hoped to see them again. Instead, someone else shows up with an intention to turn her life around.
The attendants at St. Johns Nursing Home said that Patricia’s speaking voice was too soft. But she knew that God could hear her.
It had been five years since Patricia Glenn had been living at the nursing home – five years since her son dropped her off and left without saying goodbye. That feeling of the unreturned hug as she stood in the cold with open arms still hurt in her chest.
Patricia was different back then. She was angrier, more demanding of answers, and more at odds with her own fate. She couldn’t believe she had been cut off so quickly, and she dreamed of the day that her three sons would come running back to her.
Of course, there was still a pain in her eyes. But ever since she rekindled her relationship with her personal God again, her darkness turned to light. She would read day in and day out and speak to every plant and rock as if they were having a conversation.
Soon, the other residents started to flock around her, waiting to share their troubles and grief. They would wait to speak with her, knowing that her words came from a deeply inspired place and that they would soothe their souls.
Treat your elders with respect and kindness – you will never know what they have been through.
They didn’t know that every night in the last five years, Patricia would sit alone by the window and let her pain flow out in tears.
Even though all of their love soothed Patricia’s heart, the painful memories would still haunt her at times.
She would often wake up in the middle of the night, remembering the last big fight between her sons and herself. The hurtful words they said to her would replay in her mind.
“Why are you so adamant about withholding the will? Do you think you are going to live forever?”
“You are the most selfish woman I have ever met!”
“I wasted my youth cleaning up after you. I wish I knew I would get nothing for it!”
She recollected how dizzy and ill she was in the hospital bed that night and how the staff had to step in and ask her sons to step out.
A cold breeze shook Patricia back to the present moment. She lay in bed, closed her eyes, and repeated the same prayer she had said every night:
“Dear God. Keep my sons and their families in your loving care. I forgive them. I love them. If you can, send them my way. Or even better, take me away to them.”
Somewhere along the night, Patricia felt like a warm hand was caressing her forehead. “It must be God,” she thought, half asleep.
But then, she heard a sweet voice whispering: I’ll take you away!”
Patricia opened her eyes, and it took a few moments for her to believe what she saw.
“Amber…is that you?”
“It IS me, grandma. I’ve come to take you away.”
Amber was the daughter of Patricia’s eldest son, David. While David hadn’t visited or called in the last five years, it was Amber and her younger brother Jacob who had kept in touch with her.
Patricia couldn’t take her eyes off her beautiful granddaughter. “Oh, how my baby has grown!”
Amber held her grandmother’s hands tightly and said:
“You’ve had me so worried, grandma. Why did you stop writing back to me?”
Patricia was confused. She had wondered why Amber stopped sending her letters last year. She assumed she had gotten too busy to write.
“You still wrote to me?”
“Of course I did!”
Patricia then realized that many other residents had similar complaints last year. Just like their mail, Amber’s letters had probably been misrouted to the Florida branch of the nursing home.
“I had to come and see you for myself. And I do not like this place one bit. This entire premises should be marked an architectural safety hazard.”
Amber was right. The nursing home was becoming more and more unlivable with time. The walls were leaking, and there was a damp smell that only visitors weren’t too numb to miss.
That night, Amber drove Patricia to her new apartment in the city.
“This is a modest home, grandma, unlike the palatial family home you and grandpa built. But I promise I’ll ensure you have everything you need here.”
Patricia was reminded of the home and the business empire she had built with her departed husband, Frank.
“This is more than enough, Amber. I still do not know why you are taking the trouble. I will probably be a burden around the house.”
“Not at all. I cannot imagine what you have been through in the last five years. And now, I need you here, not because I feel sorry for you. I need you here because my mother can’t be here. And you’ve always taken her place in my heart.”
Amber had lost her mother, Tracey, when she was just a little girl. Looking at Amber now, she looked just like Tracey.
“Just because I’m going to be a doctor soon doesn’t mean I don’t need a mother to run to with all my problems.”
“And to oil my hair every week, of course.” Amber smiled, pulling her grandmother’s skinny cheeks.
The two women spent the rest of the day chatting away on the balcony of the apartment, sipping tea and thinking of sweet old memories. Patricia hadn’t been this relaxed in a long time.
A week passed in Patricia’s new life, and she finally decided to make a decision. She called Amber and said, “Darling, I will be getting my will made soon. I would like you and Jacob to have all of it – including the ancestral home you love so much. Only you value it enough to take care of it.
Amber didn’t let her grandmother finish. “I can’t, grandma. I don’t want the house. I love it too much to make it my own.
“But if you really want to give the house to someone who will value it, I have an idea.”
Patricia heard the idea and loved it.
Towards the end of the year, Amber and Patricia were standing in front of the ancestral home. It looked exactly the same, except a giant board read: “Love & Light – Kind Homes for Assisted Living.
What can we learn from this story?
Faith can get you through the darkest of times. For Patricia, finding faith through God helped her rise above her past without bitterness or hate. Whether in a personal God, in the Universe, or in one’s self, finding faith and holding on to it can help overcome the most challenging phases of life.
Treat your elders with respect and kindness – you will never know what they have been through. Amber gave her grandmother a sense of dignity and love that she had forgotten. When she had the option, she chose to give back to the elderly community rather than inherit wealth for herself.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.