Mavis recently got in touch with us to share some more stories of encouragement. We are always so moved by the stories Mavis has to share and never cease to marvel at the ways God is moving in the lives of older people. Rather than write the stories below into one blog post, I wanted simply to share them here in the way we received them. I have no doubt that you will be encouraged by what Mavis had to share. Let it encourage you that simply being obedient to God’s call on our lives and faithfully following Him, we can do all things.
I was asked to speak to an elderly lady who seemed to become quite withdrawn. She was recovering well from her illness, so her behaviour appeared to be somewhat odd.
As I sat and talked about general things she suddenly and softly started to cry. She spoke about her partner who had recently died having looked after her for the last year. She felt such guilt that she did not have an opportunity to tell him how much she appreciated his care for her. He simply dropped dead at home without warning.
I listened as she spoke of her love for him, her unresolved guilt and suppressed grief. We spent quite some time together and I was able to help her see that often love doesn’t need words and that her husband knew her feelings towards him. She simply had nothing to feel guilty about. It seemed that her guilt prevented her from grieving as she felt unworthy to grieve.
With all issues discussed, she said that she had never spoken to anyone about her suppressed grief or feelings and was relieved that someone else had listened.
I saw her again three days later in our activities group and the difference was amazing. She smiled, laughed, and reached out to others. She was discharged home the following day, having told the staff that she believed God had kept her there two days more than necessary so that she could clear her heart and mind of painful memories.
I had decided to involve the residents in planting daffodil bulbs. I thought this would help them focus on Spring and encourage them to believe that they would be well and home in time to see their own bulbs come to maturity.
One particular man said he would love to plant a bulb in his pot but felt ‘out of sorts’. We spoke instead of his love for gardening and how he misses it. He went into great detail and said he had forgotten so many things about his garden until we had begun to speak of it. I said I would plant a bulb for him anyway and give it to him the following week.
The following week we had a great time of reminiscence about his village, his late wife, and his daughter. I asked if he went to Church or Chapel as a young boy and he said that he went with his mother. As a child he loved the hymn “all things bright and beautiful” and said that he would often sing it to himself when he was working in his garden.
There was no need for quoting scripture or pushing for those deeper conversations, just the simple act of planting a bulb was enough to re-engage this man to his memories of childhood faith and to help reconnect him back into a relationship with his God.
During this difficult lockdown time when we have not always been able to stay connected, it has been necessary to find creative ways of letting our elderly know they have not been forgotten. So, every fortnight I would make little cards or gifts and deliver them to the Care Home.
As I was delivering a 104 (wow!) birthday card for one of our craft and communion group members, the Manager asked to speak with me. She took me aside and asked if I could FaceTime the lady as there was something on her mind that she wanted to talk about. So, I changed my plans and instead of visiting with the lady, went home directly to FaceTime her.
I couldn’t imagine what could be on her mind that she could not have discussed with the Manager – who is amazing. Well, it was very interesting to say the least. This 104-year-old lady began by apologising to me and asking me to forgive her! It seemed that she became confused and did not understand that we could not come to see her because of the COVID-19 restrictions.
She believed that she had upset us and felt very guilty. Of course, I was able to resolve her concerns, but it really brought home to me exactly how much this vulnerable generation depends on others to bring them comfort and reassurance.
Of course, the Manager could have told her exactly the same as me, but she simply needed to hear it directly in order to accept and believe it. After talking together via FaceTime, the lady’s feelings of guilt went, and her mind was at rest and peace once more.
My prayer that night was, “Lord, may we never underestimate how you are using us during these times. May we always bring comfort and peace to those who have no one else. May we always speak words straight from your throne to the hearts of these precious people. May my response to your call always be “Here I am Lord. Send me.”
What a wonderful reminder to heed the call of the Lord and be faithful to where he leads!
If you would like to read more stories of encouragement just like this, you can visit our website at www.faithinlaterlife.org to find out more.