Sunday, August 8, 2010

Just Thinking Out Loud

I'll bet you just love when I start thinking about things...
I'll bet you just love when I use my blog as my journal...

Actually, I'll bet you say 'Here we go again.'

When I was young we spent several Christmas Eves visiting a woman in a care center.
We went with one other family, and we always sang Christmas carols.
The woman was in her 90s and in order to hear anything she said you had to lean in really close.
She was always emotional as she thanked us for coming.

When I got a little older I remember going with my sister and a friend to another care center...for the same purpose: to sing Christmas carols.
No one told us to go...we were bored and wanted something to do.

I remember going twice a year with the kids from church to a school for handicapped people.  On Sundays we would push them in their wheelchairs from one building to another, and then sit with them through church, until it was time to push their wheelchairs back when the meeting ended.

At some point along the way I became pretty tender hearted when it came to all things 'old people' related and couldn't help but cry when I interacted with them.

When my grandma got Alzheimer's that tender-heartedness only increased.  We helped care for her until she died and with her passing I lost one of my dearest friends and confidants.

I remember going to a care center after my grandma died...once again to sing Christmas carols.  We walked into the room of a lady who had Alzheimer's and when she began to talk, making no sense, the other girls giggled a little bit and left the room.  In a tragic way, it is really easy to laugh in such situations...because what else do you do when someone tells your brother to sit down and act like a lady.  After the girls left I stood in that room, holding the woman's hand, listening to her disjointed stories...crying my eyes out.

Later, in college, my friend and I took a service class.  We chose for our project to visit the same care center once a week for the entire semester, and over time we developed a friendship with John and Dallas, two men who were roommates.  We would spend an hour or so listening to their stories, and then go across the hall to ask our favorite little lady to sing to us.  She never remembered who we were but she could sing her heart out.  I still remember the day my friend came into work crying, to tell me that John had passed away.

For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you might remember a post where I mentioned my own personal heartache in having to put my grandpa into a care center. 

Today the members of my ward (the group of people I go to church with) were in charge of the church services at the local care center.  I went because the girls and their leaders were singing a musical number.  The minute I walked through the doors of that care center, tears filled my eyes, and wouldn't you know, I cried through the majority of that meeting. 

As I watched the young girls interact with the people there, I thought about all of the experiences I had when I was their age, and I hoped that their hearts were being touched the same way that mine had been, all those years ago.  And I hoped with all of my heart that everyone in a care center has someone who loves them and who holds their hand once in a while.


Beth Zimmerman said...

Sweet Noelle,
You have a truly beautiful heart and I believe the Heavenly Father smiles when His gazes pauses on you!

Sandra said...

I love it when you think out loud.

We didn't have the opportunity to give that type of service where I grew up- no care centers for hundreds of miles :(

But when I was a college student in Provo, I was dating someone who's ward was going to the school for handicapped children on a Sunday (probably the same one you are talking about) I loved being able to push the wheelchairs and attend their meetings. And I love it when my own children get to go and do the same service and can see how they are changed and touched when they come home. I love that my children love those they serve. (two of my children got to serve in the special needs mutual and it was wonderful for my children)

I also got the opportunity to spend a couple hours a week in the care center in our town a couple of years ago. I grew to love those women so much and I miss them.

Love you, Noelle, and I am glad you were able to have a wonderful sabbath.

Anonymous said...

Your community service/volunteering experiences will always continue to inspire me.

I bet that lady felt like and in a way, was the luckiest person in the world, for today.

Bless your heart. :)

Heather said...

I hope so too. My granny also died of Alzhiemer's.
I loved her so much and I still miss her.

Venassa said...

You have such a big heart.
Even the thought of Alzhiemer's saddens me so much. The Alzhiemer's commercial where the old man brings home a carton of milk and his wife thanks him and puts it in the fridge, but there are already about a dozen in there.. basically makes me cry, even though the only person I've known to have it was my great-grandmother that I never saw much.
I've never done anything in a care center but I love people that do. The thought of the people being alone in there makes me so sad.

Dazee Dreamer said...

Noelle, you are one of the sweetest people I know. I love your thinking out louds.

Cheeseboy said...

Great post. I feel similar as my Grandfather passed of Alzhiemer too.

Lalis said...

I have always felt like I have trouble interacting with older people or people with disabilities... Which is why I'm so grateful for people like you. Because when I see others that have the ability to reach out, to touch other's lives and be touched in return, that just softens my hearts, and increases my testimony of our Savior's love us. Thank you for sharing Noelle.
PS - I'm so sad you cried on my last post! My bf is actually listening to the missionaries, reading the Book of Mormon, and praying... I have faith that it's only a matter of time.

DG at Diary of a Mad Bathroom said...

People like you make such a difference in the lives of the elderly. You have such a kind heart.

Dominguez Family said...

I almost cried. Really!

jayayceeblog said...

That was beautifully said and a good reminder that not everyone has someone to care about them out there. We've done Meals on Wheels on Christmas Day and it is heartwarming and sad all at the same time. Thanks for thinking those thoughts out loud!

Joann Mannix said...

So utterly lovely.

Your heart is just so beautiful.

I fortunately, have not experienced Alzheimer's in any of my loved ones, but it is just such a sad, beastly thief. I pray that very soon significant strides will be made in this ghastly disease. I hear exciting things are happening.

God Bless you lovely girl and your beautiful, sweet heart.