Joan Levy Earle, October 18 2019

The joy of memories

Originally written by Joan Levy Earle for igNation on Oct 18th, 2019

A special friend sent the following sentence to me and it has inspired my heart:


This special sentence no doubt came from a romantic heart. But what is wrong with remembering love and kindness? The world has more stress than is needed and so thinking about the joy of falling in love, or remembering great moments of caring from the past can bring positive influence as we live out our senior years.

Of course, part of the aging process for some folks is a loss of memory. One might wonder if those with some form of dementia are able to have inner peace despite the outer appearance that they are living in another world; a world that seems so far away from ours.

How difficult it is for family members who faithfully visit their relatives with memory loss. If these relatives can no longer recognize their children or grandchildren, it can be a painful experience. How good it is when offspring continue to take the time for visits to their loved ones, despite these obstacles.

Sometimes, it is the simple act of holding a hand or a kiss on a forehead that will brighten the day for a friend in a nursing home. For many residents, a hello from a stranger in the hallway or the wave of a greeting will brighten that person’s day.

There are so many people confined to life in a seniors’ residence who have no one to visit them. When people take the time to visit, even briefly, or offer an encouraging smile, it is a gift of love.

The reality of life in a nursing home might be compared to a never-ending ride on a merry-go-round. There are perks; meals are provided and companionship is available, as well as supervised medication and assistance with personal needs. But the down side is that the situation is permanent, and there is no getting off this routine.

It is only the calling of the Lord when the time comes that will free this soul into a new life. For those who are believers, hope will remain alive in their hearts as the days turn into weeks, and then, into years.

One of my mother’s favourite sayings was: “Old age is not for sissies.” She was right. It takes heroic efforts to adjust to a new life in a seniors’ residence or a  nursing home. There will be good days and difficult days, with a need to adapt to every new circumstance.

My parents were spared this experience, and passed away after short hospital stays. I have visited aunts and uncles who were living in nursing homes; they were bravely making the best of their situation, and some were more successful than others. I enjoyed my visits with them, and always prayed that they would continue to be strong and courageous.

Let us be mindful of the needs of those we know who could use a visit, a phone all or perhaps a ‘thinking of you’ card. These simple gestures will bring joy to every lonely heart.

Joan Levy Earle

Written by

Joan Levy Earle


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