One of the greatest privileges of caring for seniors is learning their Life Stories. As I talked about in the Last Issue it is honoring to know a person’s Life Story and it helps in appreciating their importance in our lives. Yes, we are not an island. Many of the war heroes I have cared for often do not talk a lot about WW2 or the Korean War. It was a time of great loss and life changing events. But as I often say when you don’t hear much during Life, you will always hear about it in the obituary. How sad because the sacrifices these heroes gave are the reason we have the freedoms we take for granted today. Throughout the years I have had the honor of providing care to these strong war heroes. I try to remember and honor them for their sacrifices, but at times I sense I could do more. With myriad demands of care, I can get wrapped up in the immediate needs and fail to take the time to appreciate the tapestry of events within the person for whom I am caring. This tapestry came to unfold for me in one of the best Memorial services I have ever experienced in my life. It was for Frank Burgess, the husband of Helen, a client we had cared for about 8 years and who in recent months had needed our care. He was a strong man of honor and commitment to his wife, family and country. He talked a little about his war years, but on the occasion of his death we were able to travel with his wife and family to celebrate his Life and sacrifices at Arlington National Cemetery. When our group got to Arlington, the chaplain met us there and helped us experience the celebration of a Life that had made a difference. He shared how our country and president were proud. As the ceremony unfolded and the caisson rolled down the shaded lanes dotted with thousands of headstones of veterans, I knew we were on hallowed ground. Beneath a canopy of blue sky met with verdant hills and punctuated with the sound of a 21 gun salute, I paused to thank God for this man and his service. As his wife took the flag given her by the officer at arms, I cried tears of thanksgiving for what his Life meant for me and my family. Today I still hear the soldiers’ heels clicking as they saluted one who went before them in service. It was a beautiful sight- An unfolded Life Story. WE ARE FREE because of these heroes. Join me today in celebrating those we care for who made the sacrifices for our freedom. Let us honor all of our veterans and those who serve today. Their Life Story is why we are the USA.
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