Daisy enrolled in hospice when she was ninety-years-old. She was born in Kentucky, married when she was fifteen and she and her new husband moved to a farm in Pike County, Ohio. Daisy worked as a nurse aide, and her husband owned and operated a small sawmill. Daisy reflected, “We didn’t have much but I always wanted a real pearl necklace, and my husband sacrificed and bought them for me. I loved and cherished that necklace.”
Daisy had been widowed for six years and had been living in a nursing home for about a year, when I was privileged to meet her for the first time. As part of my initial assessment I asked Daisy, “Do you have any children?” Daisy answered, “No, 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 was sitting on my lap and reached up and pulled on my string of pearls and broke them, and the pearls rolled across the floor. One of the ladies at church who knew how much my necklace of pearls meant to me; was surprised when I didn’t get upset and asked me, ‘Aren’t you mad?’ I told her, ‘No! These little children are my pearls.’”
When Daisy moved into the nursing home she again surrounded herself with something to love. The nursing home social worker applauded Daisy, “She is one of our best therapists. She goes from room to room to encourage the other residents and tries to get them involved in the activities. Daisy explained, “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.” I feel the need to remind you that Daisy is ninety-years-old.
When Daisy became confined to her bed, I asked Daisy “Is it hard for you now?” She thought for a moment and then replied, “No, because 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. Better yet, we can choose to love the things that surround us, and just maybe, like Daisy, we will have a “file of wonderful memories” in our minds that we can pull out and enjoy all over again.
“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 740-356-2525 or at [email protected] You can order Loren’s book, “Straight Paths” at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.