THE JOYS OF GIVING AWAY PEANUT BUTTER COOKIES

what do you do if you’re a 95 year-old man

living with your daughter?

why, you cook her supper two nights a week!!

***

so, when you’re in the hospital for therapy

and you’re wanting to do something fun

making peanut butter cookies sounds like

your kind of therapy

***

Mr. 95-Year-Old had a busy afternoon

mixing and shaping and baking

the perfectly perfect pretty peanutty pleasures

but his real pleasure came when we decided to wheelchair ride

up and down

over and through

all over the hospital

plate of cookies in his lap

offering to one and all employees

“would you like a cookie? they’re just out of the oven”

***

when all the cookies were gone, he said

this has been the best day

it has been so much fun

do you think we missed anybody?

I want to make sure we didn’t leave anybody out

***

the wistful glimmer in those faded eyes

as he worried over not leaving anyone out

stays in my memory still

***

it is more blessed to give than to receive

*****

It’s been some years now since I cared for this patient, but I remember how agog I was when he told me he cooked a full supper for his daughter two nights a week. When I questioned him as to the menu, he reeled off “meatloaf, mashed potatoes, butterbeans, cornbread” and such as that. And usually a dessert!!

As I sat there on that first visit in his room and chit-chatted with this most pleasant man, I reflected on the blessings I received out of getting to know my patients. You stare at them and listen to them and you realize that perhaps you are looking at your own self some fifty years in the future. There is nothing like healthcare to make one realize the brevity, beauty, and sadness in life. All that’s wonderful and horrible in life is right there in front of you.

The postscript to this little story is this. Within just a week, the patient’s body systems started failing, and he died. The peanut butter cookie day was one of his last good days, and I’m thankful that he got so much pleasure out of something that we younger and healthier people might take for granted…baking cookies and sharing them with others.

And let’s don’t take our youth and health for granted, either.

Advertisements

A PERSPECTIVE ON GRIEVING FOR AN ANIMAL VS GRIEVING FOR A HUMAN

DISCLAIMER: MRS. HATE LOVES DOGS

I love to cuddle them and scratch their ears and all those affectionate things that come naturally if you love animals. I grieve when they get hit by a car and die or when they age and their bodies fail them, just as we humans age and die.

However, what I DON’T love and what bothers me is when people put grieving for a pet right up there with grieving for a human.

And again, this opinion is coming from an animal lover.

There are way too many scenarios to expound upon, but here’s a few, with a compassionate viewpoint filtered through the lens of perspective.

You’re old and housebound, your family has all died out, even your children have pre-deceased you, and all you have left to love is a cat or a dog. Is this a sad situation? Yes. When that pet dies, will it be sad for the owner? Yes…very.

You’re a child, and you love your pet. A snake bites your pet, or maybe a car runs over your pet, and pet dies. Is this a sad, traumatic time for the child? Yes. Will the child always remember this first pet death and the void that followed? Probably.

So what’s the problem here? Why the hate, Mrs. Hate??

Look at these situations:

You’ve just been told your child…let’s say he or she is around eight…has cancer, and the prognosis for healing is not good. This eight year-old is old enough to know that death means death and leaving loved ones and leaving playing with friends and leaving a future. You, the parent, get the agony of explaining sickness and death to your precious child. How would you feel if you overheard someone talking about how sad they were that their dog or cat had died?

You’re pregnant, getting close to delivery time, and you find out that your highly-anticipated child has died in utero. Do you want to hear about someone grieving over their dead pet?

Your only child has been born with multiple birth defects and his life will be spent twisted and contorted in a wheelchair, with catheters and such attached, and his measured intellect will remain at a two-year age level. Do you really want to hear about your neighbor’s ongoing sadness over her dog who just had its leg amputated?

You’re a loving family, and the full-of-life daughter and sister has been kidnapped, tortured, and killed. Her body is found desecrated and rotting in a garbage dumpster. Can you empathize with the person who’s talking about how much they miss their dog or cat who just died of old age?

People, put all this into perspective. Love your pet, be thankful for the joy and happiness it brings, but please don’t over-dramatize pet tragedies vs. human tragedies.

And, if you lack the insight to see the difference between grieving for a pet vs. grieving for a human and putting that grief IN PERSPECTIVE, at least don’t go on and on about your pet sadness in the presence of people who have human sadness going on in their lives.

I know if I had one of the human tragedies listed above, or anything of a comparable nature, it would be hard for me to keep a civil tongue in my head if I heard someone going on and on about their pet’s health problems.