A VALENTINE GIFT FROM ME TO YOU FOR YOUR READING PLEASURE
Carol was in a wheelchair. She was living in one of the nicer nursing homes in her hometown. Her children lived less than an hour away, and it was alright with her. She wanted to be close to where she grew up. This old town held so much for her.
Memories of her growing up on the big house on the hill, just outside of town. The big oak tree on the circle, where her husband Bud had proposed to her. The boarded up church where she had said her wedding vows. The quiet cemetery where her beloved rested; waiting for her.
She had always been a housewife. The two of them were poor and because she knew the good Lord would bless her for being kind, she was always searching for someone in need. It may not have been much she did, but it gave her great joy.
She had been living at Golden Oaks for nearly three years. She knew everyone of her neighbors, and kept up with the changes of nurses and staff. She volunteered to help set tables for mealtimes. She poured the water for each person, until her hands became so shaky, she ended up getting more water on herself than in the glass.
She was involved with all the Bingo games and she could be heard singing every Sunday when the different churches came to visit and preach. She had nice people that helped care for her. Each night the CNA would help her pick out her clothes, and each morning a gal would help her get dressed and fix her hair.
Carol knew her time was coming to an end. She noticed the little things like being a little weaker, not being able to stand as well. It was alright with her. She had a good life and God had blessed her so many times.
It was the day after Christmas and she had been looking at the new year calendar. Valentine’s Day was coming. She smiled as she remembered the years her Bud had given her an extra rose for each year they were together.
She went to the social director and asked if they could speak for a minute. Ever since that little meeting Carol had been busy collecting ribbons, and feathers, construction paper, and whatever she could get her hands on. The director brought some of her own things in from home and handed them to Carol to help her fulfill her wish.
The day had arrived. It was Valentine’s Day. Carol got up real early. It wasn’t even showing a bit of daylight yet. Arrangements had been made by the staff to help her get dressed in red, and to put red lipstick on.
When she was all set, she wheeled herself out to the little room off of the dining room. There in a big, rectangle box, laid all of her items. She laid the box on her lap and wheeled herself to each place setting.
There she placed a red, foiled paper on the table. On top of that, she sat a clear, small vase with a red, curled ribbon attached at the neck. Inside each vase was a red flower she had constructed out of crepe paper and red feathers. On each plate, she laid a card, where inside she had inscribed a Valentine note individualized for each neighbor.
When she had finished each table she went over and turned the dimmer light down just a bit. She wheeled herself over to the record player and turned on the song, My Funny Valentine, by Ella Fitzgerald.
When her neighbors started coming in for breakfast, she could hear clapping and words of joy. Some of the residents who could still walk fairly well, grabbed a partner and began dancing to the music.
As she sat watching the happy faces, she wished her Bud a Happy Valentine’s Day and began the journey of going to see what she could do to help get breakfast on the tables.