during the peak of a working career, time demands interfere with family obligations.
as a professional on the road, i take advantage of having to go to a variety of areas. on occasion, i would take the opportunity to visit my aunts and uncles. they meant very much to me as much of my childhood was spent in their homes.
an aunt and uncle both grew ill and they relocated to a residential care facility. the place was wonderful. it was like a hotel.
after relocating there, my uncle passed. my aunt was then moved to the facility’s “lock up” ward. her mental deterioration required her to be placed in there. i was familiar with “lock up” wards as i had volunteered at a veterans administration “lock up” ward. many times individuals are placed there because they lack the mental capacity to be able to return to the area if they are allowed to wander.
on one particular day, geography worked out perfectly. a seminar i attended was a short distance from my aunt’s facility. my partner and i went to visit her. the staff graciously gave us the “secret code” and we went into the “lock up” area. in little time, we found my aunt. she was all alone hanging on to her walker. we took her over to a bench and sat down.
she didn’t recognize me. she thought i was my father. my partner had the idea to take out my cell phone and to start sharing with her the family pictures on it. she recognized many people and enjoyed seeing the pictures. i then took the phone to call her sister, my mother. they proceeded to talk and sing childhood songs.
with the help of the cell phone, the visit was a success. unfortunately, the visit was the last time i would see her. she passed shortly after.
in judaism, visiting the ill is considered a good deed. the act is called bikur cholim. as much as this moment may have been a mitzvah or good deed, i personally benefited from being able to share one last parting moment with my aunt. this will be a memory that i will hold onto for the rest of my life.
in sum, there may be someone in your life that you may need to connect with that is ill. perhaps this little story may give you a little incentive.
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