5 days ago
Monday, February 4, 2013
I think all of us secretly wish we will be remembered and hopefully fondly by someone other than family. I have discovered it is not always a great accomplishment or stunning talent that locks us away in someone's mind and heart. Often it is just a simple act of kindness.
Recently a favorite blogger Manzanita at Wanna buy a duck wrote about such a simple act of kindness that will lock her warmly away in a particular stranger's mind for the rest of his life.
Likewise, my account of Annie proves that small acts of kindness do not vanish with the rising sun. I still remember her and it has been many years.
Years ago in Florida, my step-mom Liz had been in assisted living for about a month. She still wasn't thrilled with the arrangement but was adjusting.
My sister and I had arrived early for a visit and planned to make a day of it. We were having coffee and waiting for the aide to come in and give Liz her daily bath so we could start the day.
The facility did not want to risk a slip and fall so baths had to be assisted.We offered to bathe her but she wanted to wait for the aide. We were a bit surprised that Liz was more comfortable with a stranger giving her something so personal as a bath. Perhaps it was preferable dignity wise than the reversal of roles when the mother become the child.
When Annie the aide walked in, I was not overly impressed. She was polite enough but a bit stiff with us and obviously intent on taking care of business. Liz was not her first nor her last bath to give for the day. I got the feeling that Liz was merely a routine part of her job. No more personal than cleaning a sink, which I reasoned could be a good thing.
As Annie was not her usual aide, Liz seemed a bit disappointed but dutifully followed her into the bathroom/laundry room combination.
It was a small apartment so we could hear what went on.
Annie's manner as she bathed Liz was vastly different from the impression I had hastily formed. She obviously didn't want to waste any of the good stuff on us. With Liz, she was cheerful, funny and her conversation had us stifling giggles as we eavesdropped. Liz didn't try to stifle hers and seemed to be enjoying the bath and Annie.
When she asked Liz to lift her "girls" up so she could wash her belly, we lost it as did Liz.
Shortly however, we heard Liz say something that caused us a bit of alarm and wiped the smiles from our faces.
"Oh my," Liz gushed. " That feels so wonderful!! No one has ever done that for me before. I just love it !!"
We shot questioning looks at each other and as a unit, we head for the bathroom.
There stood Liz wrapped in a large towel as Annie patted her dry. The expression on Liz's face was purely ecstatic with face lifted and eyes closed in pure pleasure.
Annie was only a little surprised at our intrusion and said with a bit of a grin.
"Not what you think ladies. I put her towel in the dryer to warm it up while she was bathing. Folks with poor circulation just love the soothing comfort of a toasty warm towel."
Sis and I said a collective "wow". This was such a simple thing but it gave Liz such pleasure and a feeling of being pampered. This was not something that was part of Annie's job description. I would never have thought to do it and evidently, neither had the other aides as it was a new experience for Liz.
Her little "extra" step carried a lot of weight with us. My sister who was in charge of finances made sure Annie got a really nice Christmas bonus.
I only hope when I toddle off to a nursing home some day, there is an Annie on the staff.
If you are giving care to someone you love, remember this simple luxury of a warm towel. They will adore you for it. If you are the care getter---- drop a hint.
And remember, that simple act of kindness you do that you think is quickly forgotten-- really has the longest shelf life.
I hope you will visit Introverted Art blog spot to take advantage of a delightful gift she is offering. She is a wonderful artist and has painted a calendar page for February that you can use for your computer wallpaper. I love mine. Hopefully now I won't lose track of days as I am wont to do since retiring. Thank you Ana.
at 5:05 AM Posted by Arkansas Patti