If you don’t know me, you may think I am intimidating, bitchy, even intense. However, if you do know me, you know I am nothing like that. You know I have a big heart and love to help people.
You may also know that my partner, Chris Schreiber, and I, own The Underground Private Training Studio. It’s private. It’s a training studio. It’s by appointment only. We love it.
This year, we wanted to give back. We wanted to help more people or help make Christmas special for people. My heart will always be with the Veterans, but this year I thought we would do something different.
I contacted Maryhouse. Maryhouse is a nursing home here in Pierre. I was in contact with their Coordinator, Leticia Brewer. I told her what we wanted to do. She said absolutely. She was kind enough to put together a list of the residents, along with a few things they would like for Christmas. Us and our clients picked names on the list to buy presents.
Their wants were simple. Almost child-like. Candy, chocolate, salty snacks. There was a common theme. Several of the residents wanted warm socks and blankets or robes. Some wanted crossword puzzles, books or drawing supplies. It was so cute. Reading the list was so touching. One lady wanted ribbon candy. How absolutely adorable, yet heartbreaking at the same time. It really made me sad.
They loved the attention. It was easy to see they loved having company. One gentleman’s wife was in his room with him when we walked in. She was combing his hair. She was not a patient, but she spent a lot of time with him there. His room was comfortable. It had a woman’s touch. We stayed in his room for at least ten minutes. We watched him open his presents. At one point his wife scurried to get her camera. She told him to look up and smile. It was absolutely adorable. He gave a cute little smile and she took the picture. She was worried that his hair wasn’t quite right. He got candy. He opened the next present. Both of them were touched. It was a beautiful sweater and a pair of really nice socks. He loved it. She had us sign his book. It was heartwarming. I’m glad he had her company. I’m glad she was taking such good care of him. She was so patient. They were a team.
There was a handful of husband and wife residents/patients. They were together in one room. Living just as if they were in their own home or apartment, except the reality was they needed assistance. The reality was they needed help to care of themselves. The reality was they were there for each other as best they could. The reality was they loved each other and took their vows seriously. They were together until the end. Until they became parted by death. Touching and heartbreaking all at the same time.
Chris and I laughed that day. We laughed a lot. We also cried. So many emotions. Many times that day I felt sadness bubbling at the surface, tears about ready to burst through. It was hard a few times to hold it together.
We walked into her room. It was spotless. It was immaculate. It was a grandma’s room, or in this case, her home. Her bed had a beautiful bright colored quilt, I think it was yellow. She had her windowsill decorated for Christmas. Snowmen. She was sitting in her chair. She was wearing gray slacks and a navy blue sweater. She was beautiful. Dainty and dignified. One look at her and you wanted to hug her. She was beautiful. We told her who we were and that we wanted to bring her a Christmas present. I put the present in her lap. She looked up and was saying something to us, but we couldn’t really hear or understand. Then she started crying. She was so touched and so grateful. She kept wondering why we were bringing a present to her. She was beautiful. She kept hugging us and holding Chris’ hands. She would have held our hands all day. And if we could have, we would have held hers all day. She was beautiful.
It was so cute to be able to watch some of them open their presents. Another beautiful little lady, got a collapsible clothes hamper. It was so touching when she said, “Oh, how nice. I really needed one of these.” Of course they never remembered what they had asked for. The surprised looks on their faces said it all. She hugged us too. She gave big squishy hugs. She was adorable.
Every single one of them said thank you. Many of them wondered why we were doing it. A few weren’t too sure about where we came from, “The Underground, sounds illegal,” they would tell us. We just laughed and laughed.
Those nurses and aides and Leticia are absolutely amazing. Those residents are in good hands. God bless them.
That day was so special. That day we will never forget. I have not stopped thinking about those people.
But why wait until “tis the season?” How about any time? Those people are the forgotten generations. The ones who are done. The ones who need us. The ones who need some attention. We need to give it to them.