>> Monday, February 11, 2013
My mother has lived in a nursing home for the last four years. Even though her faculties were intact; her physical abilities had given out and she could no longer take care of herself.
Sad as it was, we were relieved as she would be safer than living alone and help would always be close at hand.
I’ve become friendly with some of the staff and come to appreciate what a difficult job they have. I think a person needs to be called to this line of work since it takes lots of patience and a strong back to work with the elderly. It also takes a heart of gold, encrusted with kindness.
Which is a perfect description of Jeff.
When I first noticed this imposing, hulk of a man, he was in my mom’s room, conversing with her like his own mama. He was encouraging her to do something she didn’t want to and had a huge smile on his face.
I began to observe him—which isn’t hard to do: He’s probably at least six foot six or better and is built like a small mountain (he used to wrestle—makes perfect sense.) He’s the only male patient caregiver I’ve seen and I’m sure his brute strength makes him in great demand on the floor.
But there’s a whole lot more to Jeff than that.
What attracts one to him is his kindness, endless patience, and caring. Here’s this large man gently lifting my little mom with such care and gentleness, it almost makes me want to weep.
He and I talk techy gadgets on a regular basis and he always has time to try to extract a laugh out of my somber mother. He even gave me his phone number so I can text him directly.
My guess is that there are days when he’s worn, physically exhausted, and questions his career choice.
I believe he is doing exactly what he’s supposed to.
So I left a plate of cookies and a card in my mom’s closet. Here are the texts that followed:
“Hey, Jeff, are you working today?”
“Who is this?”
“It’s Kim Russell—figured you had me in your phone contacts.”
“Oh. Well I do now.”
“K. Can you stop in to see my mom sometime? There’s a present in the closet for you.”
(And a little while later…)
“Thanks for cookies. Yum, yum.”
“You’re welcome. Thanks for all you do.”
What a guy.
In Honor of Sandy Hook VictimJosephine Gay, Age 7