“Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God.” Leviticus 19:32
She will soon be 90 and she is slipping away, day by day. At the excellent Christian nursing home where she lives, a caring staff of nurses, social workers, physical therapists, activity directors and CNA’s faithfully follow the above scriptural directive from Leviticus, which is painted on a wall in the lobby. In spite of this loving and respectful care, there is a little less of her each time I visit.
I’m sure many of you have witnessed the same heartbreaking deterioration of a loved one. Dementia is stealing her memory, bit by bit, and a variety of age-related ailments have destroyed her health. Yet, she is still my Aunt Aileen, always delighted to see me, always pleased with her living arrangements, always pleased with the food. “I’m eating like a pig!” she exclaims with a guilty grin.
Today, I brought her a micro fleece blanket which I had embroidered with her name. I love Brother’s signature floral alphabet and my Duetta 4500D stitched it perfectly in 24 minutes.
I arrived at the conclusion of a gospel sing-along, as a pianist was playing a rousing rendition of “Are You Washed in the Blood. ” Aunt Aileen was parked in the hall just outside the chapel/activity room door, close enough to see and hear all, but clearly not a participant. A staunch Catholic, she was slightly embarrassed to be caught drumming her fingers and humming along to that Southern Baptist music.
She was covered with an institutional white flannel blanket, perfectly clean and serviceable. But she immediately threw that off and had me wrap her in the new, brightly colored, personalized micro fleece.
There is nothing I can do to reverse or retard or halt my aunt’s decline. But I can make her laugh, do her laundry and help keep her warm. Bringing a throw is not much, but it is something. I feel a little better for having made the effort, she feels a little warmer for having a new blanket, and for the short while that she recalls today’s visit, she will remember that her niece cared enough to make her something pretty and snuggly. It might remind her that she is loved.