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Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Gift for Grandma




Christmas music was playing in the background.  A tall Christmas tree adorned with colorful lights and fine decorations graced the living room next to the fireplace.  Families and friends walked up and down the halls, visiting their loved ones.  It was a wonderful day in the nursing home.  Everybody looked blissful.

“I’m looking for Loraine Smith,” a man stated as he approached the receptionist.

“Beautiful flowers!” the receptionist exclaimed. “We will give them to her.” 

Ms. Smith and a few other residents of the nursing home received flowers for Christmas. Christmas gifts glowed under the magnificent tree. The Christmas party for the residents was to take place that afternoon. 

The residents’ pain and discomfort seem to magically alleviate during the Season, I mused, as I noted the number residents with chronic pain who no longer seemed to complain. 

The celebration and the soothing atmosphere made their aches go away.  Ms. Garner was one of those residents.  She was new to the facility, and although being in a nursing home was not something she wanted, she had adjusted fairly well to her new living arrangements.  Ms. Garner had accepted the fact that her health had deteriorated to the point that her daughter, Lisa, couldn’t take care of her at home. 

Ms. Garner was glad that Lisa came to the facility to visit daily.  But most importantly,  Lisa brought her four year-old little girl, Samantha, with her to see grandma every time.  Ms. Garner loved spending time with the little Samantha.  On a normal day we’d  hear Samantha’s cute voice echoing down the hall:  “Grandma! Grandma!” as she ran toward her room.  Ms. Garner’s face would light up, while she waited for Samantha to run into the room to be snatched up and embraced in a hug.  Ms. Garner had to warn Samantha often about not running down the hall, and to watch out for the wheelchair foot pedals. 

“I don’t want you to trip over the foot pedals”  Ms. Garner repeated often. 

Samantha seemed to care less about the warning.  All she had in mind was seeing her grandma and to tell her about her daily adventures with “Shadow,” her black kitty cat.

“Do you miss Shadow?”  Samantha asked her once. 

“I do.  But I know you are taking good care of him.”  Ms. Garner replied, with a hint of sadness that she gently veiled with a smile.

The Christmas party started.  Ms. Garner seemed content with Lisa and little Samantha sitting next to her.  A choir from a local church sang delightful Christmas carols.  Santa Claus walked around, greeting and hugging everybody which amused Samantha tremendously. That—and the pastries being passed  around on green and red trays which she helped herself to freely. 

“Samantha, you've eaten too many cookies already!”  Lisa exclaimed as she caught her reaching for another treat. 

“Let her have one last cookie; there’s plenty,”  Ms. Garner interceded, hugging little Samantha who had now sat on grandma’s lap. 

The Christmas presents were passed around.  Samantha helped her grandma open her gifts.  Clothing, a bed throw, a set of lotion and perfume, and a stuffed animal were piled on a chair as Samantha ripped off another shiny gift wrap. 

The Christmas party was over.  Lisa and little Samantha were getting ready to leave. 

“Samantha, aren’t you forgetting about a present you brought for grandma?”  Lisa asked with an intriguing look, arching her left eyebrow.

“Huh?” Samantha looked, puzzled. 

“Look in your pocket,” she reminded her.

“Oh!” Samantha exclaimed loudly, as she dug in her winter coat and produced a black dusty rock, almost of the size of her fist. 

“Grandma, this is for you!”

“Ah, a rock!” 

“No, grandma, it’s a pet rock, Shadow’s brother!”  Samantha placed the rock in Ms. Garner’s shaky hand.  Her gentle fingers, afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis, embraced the rock with tenderness and love. 

“Thank you, my darling...”  Tears rolled down her face. “This is the most precious Christmas gift I’ve ever received!”

35 comments:

Roxane B. Salonen said...

What a precious story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. A little glimpse of heaven, for sure -- the unconditional, unwavering love of a child. :)

Karin said...

Oh, a pet rock!! What a great idea! My daughter has a rock in the shape of a heart and that would make a super gift!

Butch said...

Very warming and a vital lesson on the unadulterated love of a child's heart.

Mariette said...

Dearest Doris,

Just in time to still wish you a Merry Christmas! In my birth country Christmas lasts two days anyway and it would be better that we keept its spirit for 365 days...
The little girl knew very well how to bring true happiness to her Grandma! What a touching story again, you always write something that makes for wet eyes... but it is so true and healing for the ones involved.

May you have a blessed year's ending and a very good beginning for 2011!

Lots of love,

Mariette's Back to Basics

Libby said...

...doris, that's why i love your blog! it's full of the best 'awwwwwww' moments EVER!!

deodate said...

Another heartwarming story Doris. Oh, if we could all have the heart of a child and still see the world through their eyes. What a beautiful sentiment, Shadow's brother. I believe that there was a very special understanding between generations at that moment - time stood still. Thanks for sharing this.
Andie

Amrita said...

You touched my heart again Doris. Hugs to you

DEZMOND said...

what a lovely post, Doris.
Merry Christmas to you and all the kind people in the world!

DUTA said...

Three generations: Ms. Gardner, daughter Lisa, grandaughter Samantha.
The unconditioned love between the first and third generation is very moving, especially considering grandmother's health situation.

This post like all the other posts written by you could easily serve as a script to movie making.
Thanks for sharing.

Just Be Real said...

Doris, appreciate you sharing. Thank you. Blessings.

Jade said...

Beautiful story. At the end, I could picture the grandmother holding the rock with a joyful smile. Childlike wonder and unconditional love are traits this world should treasure more, rather than aggressiveness and confidence to the point of arrogance. :)

Talli Roland said...

What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing - I hope you had a great Christmas!

Bobbi said...

Such a sweet story. This takes me back in time to when my daughter was four and we used to visit my mom (her grandma) at her assisted living apartment. It's those little things that mean the most. Thanks for sharing.

Ann Best said...

The "simple" gifts that come straight from the heart (mixed with imagination) are the most meaningful!!

Another wonderful story. I love these stories and look forward to reading them. They are inspiring me to finish my memoir #2, which partly involves my mother who died at age 97 in a wonderful "place" where I had to put her because, like the daughter in this story, I couldn't take care of her myself.

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas and are enjoying the Sabbath!

Lulú said...

Samantha's gift (and your way of telling the story) is just beautiful. Nice blog and I love that you're working in a home. Me, too...an ALF. We have some good things in common.

Happy Holidays! :)

Just_because_today said...

Sad and sweet story. Must be hard for the residents who are not visited. It's a necessary choice for many, yet a sad one.
Good thing there are people who care for them like you do and that others are visited often like Ms Garner.

Susan said...

Hi Doris...Very nice story. I worked in two different nursing homes and loved my jobs there. The residents are so appreciative of everything (most of them, anyway).

Thanks so much for visiting my blog today and commenting. I love having you stop by. Susan

Teresa said...

Doris, I have tears rolling down my face...the powerful inspiration through the simple acts of love; the love and thoughtfulness of a child; so simple, so pure.
Thank you for sharing this beautifully written story. Praise God that you are utilizing God's compassion in what you specialize in...Thank you! You are so lovely!
Teresa

Rita said...

First off, thank you for stopping by my blog and commenting. I have sat here tonight and read all of the posts you have written. How many memories they brought back. My mom was in a nursing home for the last year and a half of her life. I know how very excited she got when her grandchildren came to see her. These are precious stories that you have shared with us. Thank you. I know your is a very demanding, but rewarding job.

Anne Gallagher said...

Doris, you are ever a wonder. I love coming here and reading your stories. They're so heart-breakingly emotional.

Hey, I know, you should write a book!

All the best wishes for you in 2011!

cyclopseven said...

That which is coated with pure love will always be divinely blessed, for the rock too exists due to the blessing of the Higher One. Incomparable indeed the price of this creation with anything else, and what to say further of that rock given with bubbling love. Beautiful.

Padraic Murray said...

Happy Christmas Doris to you and yours. I loved the story. This is our first time since we got married thirty years ago that my mother in law could not join us for Christmas dinner. Instead we popped down to her. Once again we were amazed by the love and kindness of the staff in Our Ladys retirement home. Peace and joy to all. P.

Sassy Granny ... said...

"Shadow's brother" ... of course!

Love the story, as well as the memories it conjures up.

Too, given my allergic reaction to all things animal, I'm thinking I may just have to get another Pet Rock myself.

Blessings,
Kathleen

Joanna St. James said...

Pet Rocks rock! there really is something magical about the season.
And since Social Workers are a special brand of sweet, here's wishing you a wonderful new year ahead.

Jules said...

Doris, you have a very special gift my friend. You see that which most people never notice and then recant it to us.

Another beautiful story :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Paul Nichols said...

You are an exceptional writer. Well done. I write stories like that occasionally.

God bless little Samantha.

Came here from Cubanita Lulu's place.

Teenage Bride said...

oh these stories never fail to warm my heart.

This is what Christmas is all about!

lbdiamond said...

Awww, that's so sweet!

Happy Christmas!

हेमंत कुमार ♠ Hemant Kumar said...

Very emotional and heart touching story...thanx for sharing this nice story...best wishes.
Hemant

Toyin O. said...

What a sweet story, thanks for sharing:)

Mary Aalgaard said...

I could picture all of this playing out. The little girl, the shaky hands of grandma, the smoothness and loving gesture of the stone. Thanks for your stories and best wishes in the New Year!

Patricia Stoltey said...

Doris, this is a lovely story. My 91-year-old mom is still living in her apartment, but she lost her pet (a super-buddy parakeet who was more entertaining than most cats and dogs) this year. She's not up for a new live pet, so in her Christmas package I sent a little stuffed cardinal, one of our all-time favorite birds. Sometimes it's those little special gifts that mean the most.

Patricia Stoltey said...

Oops, I forgot to wish you a joyful new year. May all your dreams come true.

Jules said...

Popped over to wish you a Happy New Year!
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Julie Musil said...

What a sweet, sweet story. Grandma's love knows no boundaries!

Happy new year