Today is a Gift

Today is a Gift

It is not often that we choose to speak about death in a retirement community, but if we are honest, we must admit that death sometimes happens within our walls.  And if we’re really honest, we admit that the deaths of our resident family members is the worst part of working with people advanced in years. 

This week we lost someone very special.  We suffered the loss of one of our co-workers, who was younger than our average resident by quite a few years.

Does that make it more painful, more tragic?  No.  Just Different. 

We have seen residents die from heart problems, breathing problems, cancer and sometimes broken bones that lead to other ailments.  Honestly, we have seen a few die from undiagnosed broken hearts when their spouse or their child has died.

Our co-worker died from cancer yesterday.  Some might say that he was lucky, because he knew he was dying, so he was able to say the things he wanted to say to those he loved.

Others would say he was just too young and that it isn’t fair.

Agreed.  It isn’t fair.  Life isn’t fair.

So how do we keep perspective and move forward when we are hurting?

Well what we know from spending so much time with wonderful seniors, is that each and every day counts.  Yesterday was important.  Tomorrow has a great chance to be important too.  But today?  Today is the real gift. 

Shall we all just stop for a moment and enjoy the gift of right now….this moment?  We should understand that the time we have with those we love is uncertain, no matter their age.  We cannot assume that our 20, 50 or 80 year-old loved ones will have a tomorrow.  We cannot assume that we will either.  Death is inevitable at some point for everyone.

So let’s focus on today.

Slow down. Take the time to smile and shake a hand or hug someone.  Give a compliment.  Call your parent or your children or a friend and just talk, but mostly listen.  Say I love you to those that you do – and then tell them why you love them. 

Today is a gift.