This past weekend I visited my “American dad” recovering from a stroke in a rehab center. When I say “American dad” I simply mean that he is like my dad but not my biological father. I am honored to call him so because of the care and love he and his lovely wife poured on me 20 years ago when I landed in American soil. They still continue to do that in present time. I love him same as I did love my dear father until he passed away in 2003.
As dinner time was approaching my dad, his wife, my wife and myself went to keep him company in the small dinning room of the rehab center while he had dinner. As I walked in I noticed that all other elderly people were ladies waiting in silence to be served a modest cup of chilly beans, corn bread, a cup of milk or juice and perhaps a smile from the care giver. Some of them were sitting in wheel chairs and the others in chairs around their tables. I would say there were probably no more than eight or nine ladies. At my first glance I noticed that few of them had their hair done, well combed with very plain make up while the others looked as if they hadn’t done anything for their appearance in awhile. It touched my heart to see these hand full of ladies so quiet, with white hair, with wrinkles in their faces and small hands but with such lovely faces. I immediately thought of my mother and a warm feeling entered inside me.
Flowers on the old piano
As I was visiting around our table and watching around I noticed an old piano on the other side of the room. There were a bible, a hymn book and a vase of plastic flowers on top of it. I was deeply touched when I realized that there were no flowers at any of the few dinning tables with elderly ladies waiting patiently for their dinner. Tears rolled from my eyes while making sure that no one would see me. Why these Nobel ladies, these heroic mothers, these sacrificial women don’t have a simple fresh bouquet of flowers while dinning? Where all the flowers has gone? Why they were left so behind knowing that their days are counted? Where are the children that these mothers raised with unconditional love?
The lady and the old piano
As if this heartbreaking view was not enough for me I saw a lady entering the dinning room in her wheel chair heading towards the piano where the vase of plastic flowers was. She was slow but very precise in her actions. Next thing I know she opens the hymn book, places it carefully on the stand of piano and starts to play “The Old Rugged Cross”. Oh what a life she gave that room with the sound of piano! She was paralyzed from waste down but not in her spirit and soul. Those flowers on the piano have heard her plays many times. It was such a joy to listen to her music played with those wrinkled hands. I wish I could have a big bouquet of roses and give it to her at that moment. But I didn’t! Instead I approached to her as we were leaving and said: “Thank you very much for playing the piano, you made my day”. She looked at me with a wonderful smile and said: “You are welcome son”.
Time to say good bye
As we left to drive back home my heart was broken. How many of these elderly mothers pass their last days of their lives lonely, with not many visitors, dinning with no fresh flowers in their tables? It’s time to treat them as well as we treat our loved ones. Let’s no longer place fake flowers in their elderly homes, let’s no longer postpone a simple visit to them, let’s no longer wait to fill their souls with joy and love so they may fade away peacefully.
Until than be well and do good work.