Their names gave their ages away – Nancy, Ruth, June and Dorothy- are all in their 70’s and 80’s. All born during the Depression or WWII. Some had outlived their husbands; some had outlived their children. All were a joy to chat with during lunchtime at the rehab center.
Ruth was a petite lady with a sweet smile. She was at the rehab facility with a broken wrist. She was a table mate of my aunt, Dorothy (Dot). I stopped in for a visit and was introduced to these lovely and still-feisty ladies. The fearsome foursome included June who had a broken leg and Nancy with a broken ankle.
They were wheeled to their assigned table in the dining room. Always the same four at the same table for their three meals a day. When the nursing assistant asked June what she wanted to drink with her lunch, she requested “a beer”. I snickered but was cheering for her inwardly. You go, girl! She got an iced tea instead.
Nancy was hoping someone would bring her dog in for a visit. Her dog and Jesus were all she had left in life she told me.
Ruth had called her daughter to request a cheeseburger. But her daughter didn’t answer. Ruth hoped when her daughter took her to her cardiologist’s appointment the following week, they would stop and get a juicy cheeseburger. I am sure her cardiologist would approve 🙂
These ladies had all fallen and broken a bone or several. My aunt had broken her shoulder and her thumb. Their brokenness brought them together. They bonded over physical and occupational therapy stories and sugar-free desserts.
Brokenness ties us together too when we allow it. When we are willing to be honest with one another; when we remove our masks. When we are open about how hurting we are; when we will admit how tough life really is.
How are you? Fine.
No, I am not fine. You are not fine. Everything is not fine. All of us are broken somehow; some are just better at hiding the pain.
They were all there for rehab. They were relearning how to walk, eat, dress, wash and use the toilet. Those are all humbling experiences. You have to wait for everything. You wait for someone to take you to eat, you wait for someone to help you get dressed, you wait for someone to wash you and perhaps the worst is waiting for someone to take you to the toilet. It is a waiting game for these dear ladies. Your schedule is not your own. You push a call button and you wait.
They were the caregivers to their families not too long ago and now they are the care receivers. The valuable life-skills they once taught to their own children ( walk, eat, dress, wash, toilet) are now goals in their care plans. When they are able to reach these milestones, they are considered for release. Released to their homes or a nursing home or as in my aunt’s case, an assisted living community.
How will I react when the roles are reversed some day I wonder. Will I handle the waiting game with the grace and patience they exhibited?Somehow I doubt it. Waiting in traffic and drive-thrus exhaust my patience so I highly doubt it.
Over their lunch of crab cakes ( I was jealous), they talk about how long they have been in rehab and when they hope to be released. They also want tartar sauce for their crab cakes, but they will have to wait for that. They are just passing through, they eagerly told me. They are heading back to their homes eventually. This is not their home.
Elderly, fragile all of them. But all hopeful and a little sassy. Ready to go home, however that is defined for each of them. Ready for “normal” food. Ready for some guilt-pleasure food. Ready for a beer and a cheeseburger. Ready for less waiting.
Ruth passed away last weekend. I hope she got that cheeseburger she was patiently waiting for and maybe some fries too. I don’t know if sweet Ruth knew Jesus and His saving Grace. I am left wondering about Ruth’s final home. That makes me sad.
But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. Isaiah 40:31 NIV
Let’s Walk Worthy!