Through our ministry, my husband, Roy and I speak and sing at conferences, banquets, crusades, revivals, and we also take the time to present programs at long-term care facilities across our state.
We are often told how we bring joy and a spark of life to the residents. We are happy we have the opportunity to share the talents God gave us in this way.
I will never forget a particular day when we visited a nursing home to present one of our programs. Roy sang and I spoke to people sitting in wheelchairs and others who were seated beside walkers. As I stared into the crowd, I noticed some of the residents were sleeping. Others were smiling. Thankfully, most were listening. Some were even tapping their feet.
After the program all the residents returned to their room, except one lady. While we were gathering up our belongings, she came over to us to tell us how much she enjoyed the program. We hugged and then exchanged small talk. She talked about her son. Then she followed with words that literally broke my heart.
"If you see my son, will you tell him I miss him?"
"Sure, I will," I answered. I hugged her. For a few brief seconds I felt the pain she seemed to be feeling.
Now I don't know the situation. Her son could have been there just that morning. Time doesn't always register with elderly people. I am certain the days and hours have a way of running together when you seldom leave a place.
But then, on the other hand, it could have been weeks or months since he had visited with his mother. Too many people drop their loved ones off at a nursing home, vow to return often, but get busy and rarely return.
When my father was in a nursing home, I went to see him several times a week. My mother spent most of her waking hours there in his room with him. It wasn't easy, especially since it was 65 miles from my front door to his. But we were determined my father would know that we loved him, even after he forgot who we were.
I had to turn away from this sweet lady and wipe away a few tears. Then I turned back around.
"My son is coming back to get me. He is going to take me home," she announced.
I smiled and gave her another hug, wishing it was true. She walked slowly away. But once again she turned around and faced me.
"Will you tell my son that I love him when you see him?" she asked. I looked into her eyes and saw tears, beyond the smile, which automatically crossed her face just speaking of her son.
I don't expect to ever see her son. Actually, if I did, I wouldn't even know him. Therefore, in an effort to grant a sweet elderly lady's heartfelt request, I am writing this story to tell everyone who has loved ones in long-term care facilities that your mother, father, aunt, or uncle misses you very much.
They would like for you to come visit with them. Even though you may not be able to take them home with you, you can go to their meager home for a brief visit. Your presence would make their day.
And don't forget -- your family member loves you with all of his or her heart. And I am certain, just like this lady, they want you to know just how much.