Just had to share this great story from work today.
Paul and Sylvia are a married couple living at my assisted-living facility. They've been there several years, and Paul's health has taken a huge nosedive in the past couple of months.........he's severely anemic, requiring blood transfusions every few weeks, and he's just gotten over his fourth bout of pneumonia since the first of the year. Sylvia, of course, knows that his time may be short, and she's not in the best of health herself; in fact, she and I have had some private conversations (not to mention hugs and a couple of good cries) about "later", and how we as a facility will support her and help her get through it.
Well, this morning a rumor got started that today was their 56th wedding anniversary, a story that was promptly confirmed by the couple, although they "didn't want any fuss made" and appeared to be almost embarrassed when the administrator announced it at lunch. Their sons and daughters had sent them a huge flower arrangement, so at least there was some acknowledgement of the day...........and then a couple of us staff members got to thinking about what we could do to help them celebrate for real. After all, we thought, how many anniversaries do Paul and Sylvia have left?
So I asked them if they had any plans; they said No, so I asked them where they'd go to eat if they DID have plans. Sylvia promptly mentioned a local place they both enjoyed, and off I went to see what we could do about it. Soon everybody was in on it: the administrator, the lead med aide, the office manager, the other staff.........everybody, that is, but Paul and Sylvia. A dinner was ordered for delivery by the chosen restaurant; somebody dug out some white Christmas lights to decorate with; I sent my hubby and the lead med aide to my house to dig out some of the decorations we used at our silver anniversary party last year.
Between the lot of us, the anniversary couple ended up with a dinner fit for kings, and a fancy table on the second floor balcony to sit at and be waited on by the administrative staff. There were fresh flowers picked right out of the garden out back; silver candles; roses and confetti arranged on the table; white twinkle lights festooning the balcony; even a festive dessert specially prepared for the celebrants.
To see the smiles on the faces of those two precious people made every bit of effort worthwhile. Sylvia was crying; Paul was doing everything he could NOT to cry, and they were both so happy and so surprised that they could hardly speak! We told them we wanted to have an anniversary to remember, and that's exactly what they got............they both said even if they lived another 20 years and forgot their own names, they would never forget this night.
And THAT'S why I love what I do.