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Thinking of Home
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Photo: Studiomill
Nursing homes are one of my least favorite places to visit. Watching people, once full of life and now so disconnected from who they once were, tugs at my heart. Is it because it is a harbinger of things to come or is it the sadness at seeing people, though still alive, who have become empty shells, whose minds left many years ago? I suspect the latter.
 
A song performed by my friends, Azure Fields, talks of offering an old man, who is sitting alone on a park bench, a penny for his thoughts. The conversation quickly turns to the grey-haired gentleman opining that he’s homesick and “just thinkin’ about home.” At the end of his life, he yearns for his eternal home with loved ones. The anticipation contagiously leaps out of him. His eyes brighten as he propels the conversation, barely able to contain himself.
 
Reflecting on the words of the song, I pictured my wife’s late grandpa as the old man in the song. His actions reminded me of a young child whose parents have informed him of an upcoming trip. The young child is barely able to contain the excitement and anticipation of what’s coming; his wiggles take on a life of their own. Excitedly, that child talks about it incessantly to everyone, even the checkout lady at the grocery store.

Heavenly Home
 
Visiting my wife’s grandpa in a nursing home awakened in me a childish excitement for my heavenly home. Grandpa’s anticipation about a new home, where he would see his wife and lost ones again, brought sparks back into his dimming eyes. Talking about his childhood home, his adult homes, and his home to come brought that sometimes empty shell back to us for a few short moments.
 
Some of you may be caring for or will soon care for your aging parents, or perhaps you’re caring for rapidly declining loved ones. Take comfort in the blessed hope of vigor and renewal promised us; but most of all get out the old photo albums now, before it’s too late, and reminisce. Let them talk to you about home; their childhood home, their adult home, the home where you were a kid, and most of all, their eternal home to come.
 
Engage them in those old memories and the new ones to come, stoking that perhaps now waning spark. What better way to honor your loved ones than to keep them dreaming of better things to come?
 
I’m looking forward to my new home where I can sit and talk to Grandpa once more surrounded by those he loves.

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By Daniel LaFlair. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.


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