By Carmen Moize, RN, Director of Hospice Services, Interim Healthcare of Greenville, SCThe day room was bustling with activities, this was a usual finding here at the towns assisted living facility.However, it seems the only visitors that frequent here are an occasional group of young Sunday School kids singing the beloved old school classic gospel hymns to the top of their lungs.On these occasions, the senior residents sit back and listen or sing along with big smiles at the life and youth brought forth by these young children.It was on a day like this that I happened to be making a visit to one of my special friends that I came to know by working as his nurse prior to his admission to the assisted living facility..I had extra time today and was determined to spend some quality time with my previous 88-year-old WWII veteran patient.

Spending time with him was always a treat for me as his mind was clear and he had so much to talk about.His body, however, was failing him quickly.I entered the room to find him sitting in his wheelchair and gazing intently up at the beautiful clear blue sky.I walked up and placed my hand on his shoulder, looking outward in the same direction with him and wishing I could also envision what his mind was so focused on so intently.

There was a light flickering in his eyes today, a bit of a sparkle that I hadnt noticed before.He knew I was there to spend time with him and as promised I would sit and visit for a while today.What are you doing? I asked.He looked up at me through his now grey eyes and simply replied I was thinking of the war, flying fighter jets to be exact.I took his hand and sat beside him, my chest filled with pride.I felt like the luckiest person in the world as he began to share his amazing story.

Tears filled his eyes as he began to speak.He said I was the only person to ever ask him about his story.I was baffled to hear this and in that very moment I realized my heart and my time will always belong to this generation.He couldnt help but notice the disbelief in my face.

He just chuckled and said, You see, it seems the more our health, hearing and sight diminish, the more we diminish in the sight of the people around us.So many of our seniors, not to mention veterans, sit alone day in and day out with no one to talk to or share their incredible life events and boundless jewels of wisdom.They are truly living history books just waiting to be read.The opportunity to listen and learn from them is such an honor and can be the richest part of our day if we only take the time to hear their stories.Of note, our veterans are currently dying at a projected rate of 245 per day (prior to COVID).

It becomes increasingly easy to get stuck in the routines of our daily lives and lose sight of the greatest generation that ever lived.Lets all give ourselves the gift of getting involved with a veteran in our community.After all, this honorable group of men and women were willing to give their all for this country.We are extremely fortunate to be able to give our time to them, as well as to receive any part of their life history that they are willing to share.Life is beautiful and it becomes quite magical when you are able to hear about the world from a deeper level of living of understanding.

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Publisher: Life Plan Community ( Read More )

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