Thursday, January 10, 2008

My Visit with Margaret


Today was the day! I rushed out the door only stopping off to purchase some yellow rosebuds and a box of chocolates. I walked into the assisted living facility in hope of surprising my friend, Margaret Light, who became 92 today. I went to her room and found her bed made and no one there. The nurses at the nursing station directed me to "activities" being held in the cafeteria. I peeped inside the door. I saw approximately 15 elderly people inside, none of which looked like Margaret. I opened the door, "Excuse me, is Margaret Light in here?". One of the nurses gestured over to a lady that was bent over in sleep in a wheelchair. "Margaret?" The lady looked up from her slumber and looked at me. "Margaret, it is Leigh." "Oh, Leigh. I thought you would never come. It has been years. How long has it been?" "Sixteen years, since we have seen one another". The year had been good to her. She looked very much the same. Still pretty. Her hair was fixed perfectly and she wore some "Jackie O" style sunglasses on top of her head. Her green eyes matched her warm up suit. "Oh, Margaret you haven't changed a bit!"
We had a wonderful visit. Catching up on all the years, yet it seemed as though we hadn't skipped a beat in our conversation. I was so surprised at her positive attitude, which I told her is what keeps her alive. She was so kind and gracious and told me that she has to be positive for the other patients. Some of which never had visitors. I looked around and became both sad and melancholy at the thought of having to live out the rest of life in a "home". Margaret must have seen my glances. "I am here until I die now, Leigh". It was so sad. "Margaret, you have such a great attitude, you are here to help others live!". It was the truth.
Moments later a nurse came to get my friend to take her blood pressure and give some medication, explaining she would bring her back shortly. By now the cafeteria was preparing for the lunch crowd. Patients were wheeled in, many seemingly unaware of any life around them. Some were wheeled to the table, still slumped over in sleep. Some patients came in and spoke to other residents, while a couple others came in a caused a small amount of trouble. One refused to sit in her assigned seat. She argued with the nurse who told her it was assigned seating. The lady said, "But I don't like those people!!" Finally she conceded, "Move yer wheelchair so I can sit down!", she insisted. Anther elderly gentleman kept continually coming up to me mumbling. Four times he did this, touching my shoulder. I insisted to the nurse, who each time drug him away by the hand in his wheelchair that it was ok. I never did understand his words. Such a state of sadness, but yet Margaret saw it as a blessing. Moments later Margaret was returned in her wheelchair by the nurse. "Leigh, please stay for some tea". "I can't Margaret, I am sorry I need to go so that all of you can eat." There was no room at the table and I felt as though I were intruding on others lunch time taking up room at the four person table. Margaret then introduced me to her table mates. One never even looked up, another kept asking me if she could have the roses I brought to Margaret. "They are so pretty." she repeated several times. Wishing Margaret a Happy Birthday (she didn't even realize it was her birthday) I hugged her and kissed her cheek. She kissed my hand and hugged me so tightly. "Leigh, promise me you will come back. Promise me. Will you promise?" "I promise. I love you my friend". And I left. I could hear Margaret telling her table mates who I was, she told of our friendship and the 16 years we had been friends. No one was really listening,I noticed as I looked back, but Margaret was so happy to tell. She was still very sharp in her mind, recalling things even I had not remembered. It was a wonderful day. I went back to her room and took the flowers and chocolates , opening the box for her so she could easily eat them. I left my phone number in hopes that her nephew might pick it up and keep me updated. I plan to return next week. When I do, I am bringing roses for the little lady who wanted some so badly. We should all be reminded of an important lesson through Margaret. Live life with a zest so that it might rub off on others-the way Margaret is doing. No complaints, no pessimism in the face of adversity, but with a love for the Lord and a positive attitude. Until next week...Happy Birthday Margaret Light. 92 Golden Years.

7 comments:

Shelly said...

Oh, yea!! You figured it out!! Cool!

Abbey Road -- said...

I have a soft spot for the elderly, and for children - both helpless in a sense and relying on others to take care of them. What goes around, comes around. We will all be elderly one day and I believe that if you treat them with care and respect, then you, too, will be treated that way when you are old. At least, I hope so. God bless the children, and God bless the old. It is a very kind and generous thing you are doing.

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a wonderful message you portrayed in your tellings of your visit with Margaret. I actually teared up. I read your blog everyday, but today I felt compelled to tell you that your story really touched me.

Leigh said...

Shelly-Yep. We all take things and life for granted. One visitto a home sure wakes you up. I am inspireed now. I am going in the next few days and doing some things that I have put off. LIke visiting an elderly former neighbor who was recently widowed. And my grandmother (actualyy my husbands) who has dementia. Things can change so quickly....for anyone of any age.
Anonomous-Thank you so much. I really appreciate your comments and your readership. I hope that I did get my meesage across of how special and poignant my visit with Margaret was. Again, my sincere thanks.

Leigh said...

Abbey-you are so correct. We should all take note.

Anonymous said...

Keep your promise and if time allows go every month ! 20 or 30 minutes of your time is priceless to her. GREAT story !!

jennyhope said...

oh this breaks my heart. i need to start going back to the nursing homes to visit...it is such a blessing!!