We met them on vacation. The two of them walked in front of us as we crossed the street going to the tourist area. We were in a hurry. On vacation! They walked slowly. His right leg was in a brace, and he used a cane on that side. His left hand was pulling a small, bicycle-like walker. It seemed odd. She was a few steps behind him, bouncy and happy. I tried to pass her, but she was very chatty and asked if we were enjoying our time there and where we were from.
She told me her husband was an officer with something, but her voice trailed off and I didn’t understand the rest. I asked what he was an officer with? She looked at me and then at the Burger King we were passing and said, “Burger King”.
Oh. Hmm. Something going on here. He turned around then and asked her if she could tell him where the pizza place was, and she did.
She turned back to me and asked where we were from. Again. I began to understand.
This was love in action. She was lost in her own world, trusting him completely. And he was taking care of her, allowing her dignity despite her illness.
She wanted to talk and began another conversation. He asked her again to tell him where the pizza place was. It took her a minute to process this time, but she pointed in the right direction.
We wished them a good night and walked toward the shops. Somehow we ended up at the same pizza place later, and I saw them leave. She was still happy and bouncy. He was making sure she was cared for.
I don’t know if it was Alzheimer’s or something else. I do know this brief encounter touched me. Simple yet profound. Kindness matters. I remembered it as I was falling asleep; the walker he was bringing for her with his free hand, the questions to help her focus on her surroundings, letting her be who she was and not interfering with her happy conversation.
It seems to me that our world needs more kind actions and fewer words. And I’m a words person! There’s certainly a time to use words. But the best Book ever written says it’s God’s kindness that brings about the desire in hearts to change. What if our kindness exceeded our words? What if our words matched our kind actions? I think our world would become a better place.
Copyright © 2017 Nadine Patton.
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