Thursday, January 25, 2007

A Presence Is Indeed Often a Present

I've taken the time to now comment on the comments of my last few posts. In case you don't go back and read them, I'm copying one that addresses someone's presence alongside someone who is ill. I thought you ought to read it.

Thank you all for your comments.

Yes, someone's presence can in fact be a gift.

I have a cousin whose grandmother (my great-aunt) had been in a nursing home for a few years. Even though my great-aunt was often sleeping or simply "out of it", I would visit, just sit with her, hold her hand and say a few words...whether she heard them or not.

I asked that cousin one day: "Do you visit your grandmother? Do you take the kids to see their great-grandmother?"

I got a very flippant answer: "No...it wouldn't make a difference anyhow. She's so out of it, she wouldn't know who I am or who the kids are, and wouldn't know I'm there."

I never forgot -- nor, in a way, forgave -- that cousin for that shi**yattitude. If that attitude prevailed throughout this world, people who were sick would simply die earlier.

The truth is that one never knows when their presence can make a difference. And I can tell you another story about how one's presence had an impact...

IN 1981 after my dad was operated on for a brain tumor -- benign -- he was barely conscious for the first few days after. But I happened to be there one day and a nurse was asking my dad simple questions to test his cognition. She said, 'Mr. A, there is someone in the room with you. Do you know who it is?"

In barely a whisper, and with his eyes closed, he said, "My daughter...Pearl."

I was astounded; I might've said something to him when I walked in but thought due to the heavy painkillers, he couldn't hear me or sense I was there.

How wrong I was! And that memory has stuck with me, among several others from that time, for these past 25+ years.

So nobody should ever say "It doesn't matter if I'm there or not."IT DOES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(phew, now that I got that out of my system, I can move on to something else)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

grat post 'pearl...reminded me of when my Zaidi AH was dying...they took him to the mayo clinic and he was in a coma...suddenly he opened his eyes and told my aunt to open the door for the rabbi...my aunt didn't want to argue with her dying father so she got up and opened the door...and nearly fainted as she saw the rabbi walking towards the room...no one knew that he had gotten on a plane to visit my Zaidi...stay safe...refuah shleymah...love

~ Sarah ~ said...

that is a great post.

you never really know what is going on so even just being there may make a difference. like, we're not sure whether my grandmother knows us or what is going on but we still visit and make an effort to talk to her because even if there is only a little bit of recognition, it's still better than nothing at all. and when mum was sick a couple of years ago, she used to just like us to sit there and be with her.

Anonymous said...

It's called 'love', and it is a gift from HaKadosh Baruch Hu. Shir-El, Simchat Torah.