holding hands

This story is about life. Not just any life, but my life. Not really, but rather a reflection on my life and an encouragement for each and every one of us to appreciate the small moments in our lives.

I still have a wife of sorts. You see, she is in a home and locked in a memory care unit.

She went in just as COVID-19 was rearing its ugly head. Consequently, our contacts have been limited to phone calls — a rather trying experience, since Parkinson’s has taken her voice and made it almost unintelligible. A disease, dementia and Parkinson’s have separated 60-plus years of togetherness.

What is left are memories and reflection. Simple things such as folding handkerchiefs reminded me that Nancy had ironed my hankies — a warm memory that was not as appreciated at the time as it should have been. Are you appreciating the little things in life that others are doing for you? It is not what the world knows, but what you know.

Supper was a focal point of our lives and was usually prepared by Nancy. What a fortunate guy I was. I married a girl whose family came first. Her worth was not calculated in dollars but in her contributions to a secure, comfortable life. Are you appreciating such giving?

As I was driving the other day and somewhat morose, I saw an older couple going about their day holding hands. Sadness overcame me as I realized I have not enjoyed that simple pleasure for some time. I also did not appreciate the value of this act as much as I would now. Do you appreciate simple acts of love to their fullest?

My house is empty. Our interaction over the declining years was more limited than in the past. Dementia robs so much from one’s life; however, empty is so much worse. No one, when needed, is not fun. Who will listen? Sure, a phone call can get someone, but real listening is done face to face. Do you appreciate others that conquer the empty feeling? You should.

For me, the big things are easy to remember: the significant times that we ventured out of our comfort zone and took a trip across the U.S. with our boys, building a house together, boating on the Chesapeake, frolicking on the beach with grandchildren, and the list goes on. However, one expects such experiences to end, but small acts of kindness and love are not expected to end. Funny how acts of kindness and love make up so much of who we are. Are you up to it?

There is so much more that can be said, but I hope you get the point that the lasting and important things are the ones that provide a completeness to your life.

Now go do a small act of love or kindness for someone. It will make you feel good, also.

The author lives in Mount Joy.