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Peanut Butter & Jelly or a Cookie?
It is Saturday afternoon, and my two sons and I have just arrived at the Masonic Home to visit my 91 year-old grandmother (Grammy to us) who has been suffering from Alzheimer's Disease for a long while now. As we walk the halls of the Alzheimer's Wing with Grammy, another resident approaches us and initiates the following conversation with my ten year-old son, Timmy.
Resident: "Hi. What's your name?"
My Son: "Timmy."
Resident: "Do you have a girlfriend?"
My Son: "No."
Resident: "Can I be your girlfriend?"
Later during our visit, snack time arrived for the residents, and the nurses (let me just say that they are some of the real heroes in our world) were offering residents a snack of peanut butter and jelly or a chocloate chip cookie. One resident, affectionately known as "Icky," chose a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and promptly gobbled it up. When he asked for a second sandwich, the nurse said, "I already gave you one," at which time Icky pointed at my son and claimed, "He ate it."
Obviously such conversations are a direct result of the toll Alzheimer's has taken on these people's minds, and they are just two examples of many stories I could share about our visit with Grammy. However, the bigger story is what our visit taught me and my sons.
Our visit taught me that I need to visit my grandmother and her friends more often, for their quality of life, and ours, is enriched by such visits. Our visit taught my kids the value of human beings, regardless of their age or lot in life. And our visit taught us all that some of life's greatest blessings appear when you least expect it.
Since our visit to the Masonic Home, our family has enjoyed many conversations about our time spent there, recounting the humorous anecdotes, recalling specific individuals, and marveling at the people who work there. The more I think about it, the more I believe this may have been the most valuable use of a few hours I can remember in a long time!
"Grammy, we'll be back to visit soon, and please let Icky know that we'll be sure to get him a second peanut butter and jelly sandwich this time around.":)