Tuesday, April 3, 2012
C is for Compassion
We got off of the elevator at the Senior Home and located the door we needed. It was locked and only the swipe of a key card could get us in. John's mother was behind that door and she was there for her own safety because she has Alzheimer's Disease.
Her eyes lit up when she saw him and she knew who he was and they hugged. Standing beside him, I was ignored but I didn't take it personally because I knew Irene didn't remember me. We rode the elevator down and signed her out, John taking her hand and leading her every step, helping her into the car, fastening the seat belt and getting her comfy. She used to do those things for him.
We decided on a gentle walk at the local park and John helped her unfasten the seat belt and get out of the car. He guided her to the sidewalk and walked beside her chatting about the day. She noticed her shoe was untied and John knelt at her feet and tied it for her. She used to tie his shoes.
Around the park we walked and I followed behind, blessed by the sight of my husband with his arm around his mother, guiding her along and keeping her steady. At one point, going up some steps, she stumbled and fell. He picked her up and brushed her off. She used to pick him up when he fell.
We finished the day by going to dinner at a casual sandwich place. John helped her get seated and pick out what she wanted and when the food arrived, he cut it up. She couldn't get her straw in the cup and after watching her try for a bit, he put the lid on and the straw in place. All through dinner he kept an eye on her to make sure she ate and didn't have trouble. She used to make sure he ate properly so he would grow big and strong.
Back at the senior home, I stayed in the car to give them just a few more minutes alone, and John took his mom back in and got her settled down for the night. He told her he loved her and would see her soon and not to worry that he would be looking out for her. She used to do that for him when she tucked him in at night.
I learned something in watching my husband interact with his mother. He has a great compassionate heart, a heart that is willing to do whatever it takes to help those he loves. I saw it in the tying of a shoe, the curve of an arm, the gentle words of reminder, and the look in his eyes as he cared for the woman who taught him those things. Irene may not remember his childhood, but I will forever be grateful she raised such a tender and compassionate man.
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.