Monday, September 12, 2005

"Lecture" (Cedric's Big Mix)

Mike called to give me a heads up to Cedric's latest. When he writes about visiting the nursing home, I always have to bite my lip to keep my eyes from flooding over with tears. I think Cedric really makes a difference in the lives of the three men he visits and I think he makes a difference when he writes about it. Here's "Lecture" (Cedric's Big Mix):

I'm tired tonight. I only spent an hour at the nursing home visiting. I told the guys I was really wiped out and going home to do a few minutes online and then hitting the sack. I told them I'd make it up by going over tomorrow night. So I get asked why I didn't just not show tonight?Because I feel like they hear a lot of promises that aren't kept. I feel that way with Vern especially. At his funeral, I had to hear over and over from different people in his family how they meant to visit him in the nursing home.
Meant to. Like he just went in a week or so ago. He was in there for over five years. With one exception, the last family visit he had was in January. He died in September. I don't think there's an excuse for that. I tried to be nice about it but if they pressed me, I gave my opinion.
I know that one side of the family has another member in a nursing home so I didn't see the point in telling them something that would comfort and absolve them. They need to be thinking about the other family member.
Vern had some grandchildren who called and wrote. And he really appreciated that. He had a grandson in college on an athletic scholarship and she clipped stories on the team all year and sent them to him even when she didn't have time to write a real letter. He appreciated that and understood she was "on the tip of the United States" as he liked to put it because she was in Florida.
Other people, especially full grown adults, didn't have that excuse. I hang with the three guys still at the nursing home. I'm there to visit them. But I look around and see a lot of lonely elderly people. It's like they just got dumped there and then forgotten.
So if you're reading this and you've got someone in a nursing home, a friend or a family member, you visit them. If they're too far and you don't have the money for a trip, you write and you call them.
I see a lot of people hanging on with hope that they are going to be remembered by someone who knows them. I think that's pretty sad that a lot of times that doesn't happen.
I walk in and the ladies start talking going on about how I'm there to see my friends. As I pass them, they'll always greet me and I greet them back and with their names when I know them.
The guys tell me that they're becoming celebrities and everyone's always asking them about their friend from church and telling them how lucky they are to have someone visiting.
I can tell a joke but I'm not the funniest guy. I'm not the smartest guy. But all it takes is just a visit and a listen to really make their day.
When I went Sunday afternoon, I took my youngest brother. He tickled them. He's a funny guy and always joking. But it doesn't matter to them if I'm making them laugh or not. They just appreciate that someone is stopping by and talking to them. I told my preacher this was the best thing he ever did, this program.
If you've got a family member or a friend in a nursing home, you make the time to visit. If you don't know anyone in one but you have time to spare, regardless of your age, I think you should consider volunteering in some way. It may not seem like much to you but it really means a lot to them.
And if you're like most of Vern's family who couldn't make the time for visits or calls or letters, I guess maybe someday you'll be in a nursing home and everyone will forget about you. I'm not saying "fate" or "punishment." But his kids are getting older and they didn't make a point to visit and take their children so when they're older there's no way their own children will see it as important to visit. You model behavior and the behavior Vern's kids modeled to their own children was put Vern in the nursing home and get on with your life. So it may come back to bite them in the butt. If it does, they'll have only themselves to blame.

Remember Wednesday, Mike will have an interview with Cedric at his site (Mikey Likes It!).

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