Submitted by Kay Helbling
It was just a day before Thanksgiving, the beginning of the busy holiday season. The nurse said it is one of the busiest times for them. I assumed it was the slip and falls from the weather or maybe heart attacks from the stress. In fact, the reason she gave left me speechless.
During the holidays, they receive a rush of elderly brought in by their caring children. You see, some of these moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas are only seen by their kids during the holidays. So, when they find them short of breath or having a hard time getting around it scares them. To them the change is drastic. Something must be wrong. Off they go, to the emergency room.
To these elderly, the condition has been slowly progressing but no one noticed, because they weren’t there. There was no emergency care needed, only some tender, loving care.
If you are like me and live thousands of miles from a parent or grandparent, maybe the greatest gift we can give them is not wrapped with a shiny bow & ribbon but in the warmth of a big, strong hug. Not just at Christmas but throughout the year.
This Christmas, as we leave their home or make our annual Christmas call, besides telling them we love them, maybe we should offer them one more present—a promise. A promise to call and visit them twice as often. To stay in touch with their life and that we want them to stay in touch with ours. I think that would be the best gift we can give them because, most certainly, love is “the greatest gift of all”.
Kay was an insurance adjuster and executive for 15 years, a small business owner and a teacher for 10. But, her most fulfilling work has been as a mother of her two boys. She is now looking forward to an empty nest with her best friend—her husband