Katherine told me
the story of her parents.
Her father, Harold,
developed Alzheimer’s.
Her mother, Rachel,
in ill health herself,
had to place him in a nursing home.
The cost of his care began to deplete their savings.
It appeared the sale of their house was next.
An attorney advised Katherine’s family
that in order for Rachel to avoid destitution,
she would need to divorce her husband
after 60 years of marriage.
So Katherine sat before a judge,
representing her demented father,
while her mother sat across the courtroom,
petitioning for a divorce she didn’t want.
It was an act, Katherine said,
that broke her mother’s heart.
Not long after that sad day in court,
Rachel received a letter in the mail.
In part it read,
“Whatever the State of Indiana
says about the legal status of your marriage,
that’s not what matters.
You are still married in the eyes of God,
and you always be—
that’s what matters.
You two remain married deep in your hearts,
and that will never change.”
The letter came from Michael,
who was legally no longer a family member—
he and Katherine had divorced years before.
Michael lived in Boston, 1,000 miles away.
His act of caring involved writing
a few heartfelt words
on a single piece of stationery.
That expression of care carried Rachel
through her final years,
as she placed that note in her Bible,
and then read it many, many times
when she needed its comforting message.

What is the point of this story of Katherine
and Harold and Rachel and Michael?
We, any of us, can be caregivers,
whatever our relationship, legal or otherwise,
to the one who needs care.
We can provide significant care,
even from far away.
We can care for another
with simple, deeply felt acts
that may take only moments to perform.
A point of this story is that
when we offer an authentic act of care,
we never know how much of a difference
it will make,
or how long its effects will last,
or how many times it will continue
to lift, to hold, to help heal,
to help someone live on.

Click on this image to enlarge it. Then right click to print it, send it to another, or use as your desktop wallpaper.

Please select this LINK for a printable version of this image.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: