February is the month where love is at the forefront of holiday celebrations and it takes on many forms: young relationships dreaming of a special evening; mature relationships cherishing the years that have passed; new parents relishing a precious life to share; animal lovers doting on their babies, and the hope of those who feel alone...that someone will remember them...
In light of such remembrance, I'd like to share a tribute to a beautiful woman I was blessed to share the gift of love with...if only for a moment...and it went both ways.
It started this time last year in my first meeting with a local pastor. As I shared the vision of The Delsa, he told me of a woman that was in need of this type of support. Because of health issues, the family was placing her in a nursing home...and she didn't want to go. I knew immediately that our paths were meant to cross and when I was advised of her location, I went to introduce myself.
For the next eight months Pat and I became the best of friends. She in need of a loving companion to help her maneuver through her last days, and I making sure we were doing everything we could to provide that. Oh... how I long for The Delsa to be built!
Each week quality time was spent with Pat, whether playing games, reading to her, praying with her, letting her cry, sharing memories, laughing with staff, taking walks pushing her around in the wheelchair to visit with other residents, or just sitting outside, soaking up the fresh air and watching the billowing clouds softly floating by....but most importantly, listening...
She wanted to be home. She wanted to be somewhere familiar. She was hurt. She was afraid to be alone. She was afraid to get old. She was afraid to die. There is a depth of conversation that demands reverence.
As the weeks rolled into months, it became even more important to make sure Pat felt loved and that she was still participating in life. On one such occasion, she had mentioned to me that she longed for a good, strong, cup of hot tea and that the facility where she was staying was never able to produce it. The next visit, I packed up a tablecloth, a tea set and plates, little cucumber sandwiches, strawberries, and chocolate truffles. The table was set where we had a beautiful view of the blue skies, and we sat together blissfully having our formal tea and relishing every bite. She loved it!
Pat confided in me that she could not have endured this change in her life were it not for our relationship. She said our visits were the highlight of her weeks and she would long for our next visit as soon as I left. I don't share this to boast, but to confirm that The Delsa is so needed for people like Pat. It will be a place for them to come and live full time while being cared for, still being able to participate in life, still being able to give of themselves, and to be in a beautiful environment to pass with dignity. As many of you already know this is why I named the retreat center "The Delsa"....this is a cause I am passionate about.
In the end, as was very much my desire and prayer, Pat and I were able to spend her last hours together. When her precious daughter arrived, I left them to be alone, saying goodby to Pat for the last time, and assuring her that I would see her again soon. Thankfully...she was not alone and she was at peace.
For those that have already joined hands with The Delsa, I have previously expressed my gratitude from the bottom of my heart for being a part of changing Pat's life for the better. I hope that you, and those that have yet to join hands, will continue to value the importance of this charitable need and help us to make it a reality for more Pat's and Delsa's. Whether becoming a Member of The Delsa or simply contributing $25 every month...please join hands with us to make a difference in our world.
From my heart to yours.