Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Small Stories to Touch the Soul

I have chosen Valentine's Day to share a few small stories that I hope will encourage and bless you. If you are a caregiver of an elderly family member, please know you are not alone. And know that there are moments, these sweet moments that you will remember forever.

Love in the Golden Years

Love in the senior years: A true inspiration to me. My parents were married over sixty years. Sixty years of ups and downs, good health and bad, happiness and sadness. But one thing remained: a steadfast love. It was this love that inspired me to write stories; theirs, and another couple: my husband’s elderly aunt and uncle.

Louise, my husband’s aunt, had a stroke several years back and was hospitalized and eventually moved into a nursing home. Her husband, Hubert, took the time every single day to drive to see her. He helped her eat, talked with her even though she couldn’t speak well, and made sure every need of hers was met. There came a time he couldn’t drive any longer, and he would wait as the senior bus picked him up, not wanting to miss one day with his wife.

 When he suffered his own health crisis, he ended up in the same care facility. Though they weren’t in the same room, Uncle Hubert would wheel himself down the hall to spend time with his beloved each and every day.

Hubert and Louise didn’t have many family members, so I became a regular visitor of theirs. I watched as love appeared to grow even stronger as Hubert sat by his wife’s side, gazing upon her as if she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, and talking to her as if she was the only person in the world who mattered.

Then came the day when we had to tell him that Louise had passed away. Brave man that he was, Hubert made it to the funeral. When he stood from his wheelchair to give Louise that final kiss, I thought my heart would break. 

He would live another two years without her, and it was during that time that I would grow closer than ever to him.


One Christmas morning my husband Jim and I went to visit Uncle Hubert in the nursing home after Aunt Louise had passed away. We signed the guest book in the front lobby and walked through the doors to the hall that leads to the patient rooms. A little way up the hallway, Uncle Hubert was sitting in his wheelchair, the only patient in the immediate area, an expectant look on his face which broke into the most beautiful smile the instant he saw us. "Merry Christmas," he said, extending both arms toward us. We embraced and went into the dining room with him to chat. A lump formed in my throat as we spoke, realizing we probably got the most wonderful present by giving our time to this dear man. "I knew you were coming," he said to us. It was the strangest thing. We could have chosen any time that day for a visit, yet he knew in his heart it would be then. All our love, Uncle Hubert....

Basket of Love

There is a basket my mother keeps near her kitchen table, spilling over with love letters and cards that Dad sent her through the years. We lost my father only four months ago, and these writings have become a beautiful link to his love for Mom.

Every so often when I’m visiting, Mom pulls a crumpled page out and asks in a shy, giggling, school girl kind of way, “Did you ever see some of the notes your father wrote me?”

In her dementia, Mom doesn’t realize that I’ve heard the letters read many times now. But to her, it’s the first time. It’s a way to reignite the passion she and Dad shared, and makes her see herself as my father always saw her: as the young beauty he once courted.

Though the ravages of aging are upon her, the thinning, gray hair, bent body, and same sweatshirt stained with jelly from the previous day; inside is the young girl. The one my father loved.


  1. Uncle Hubert was such a trooper. Lovely memories Karen. Thanks for sharing.

    1. He was a sweetie too. But in many ways, he gave me practice on dealing with my mom's issues. His mind started failing towards the end also. Thank you for the comment, dear.