Sometimes I think of the words I wanted to say much later, after my son and I had that discussion that felt so momentous. I wish I could have been more insightful then, could have imparted more wisdom from my years on this earth.
But this reflection from a JMU student volunteer who participates in our Caregivers Community Network program hushed that little nagging voice in my head. Here is what she wrote about her experience caring for older adults.
"The best way not to feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don't wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope." - Barack Obama
This quote sums up, in entirety, what this class has done for me. I originally signed up for this class in hopes that it would offer my hectic, difficult schedule some relief. The elder I visited made a huge impact on my life and on the way I will forever approach life. Our visits were not huge psychological analysis or in depth discussions of the mysteries of human existence, but rather periods of quiet reflection and carrying out simple tasks. Yet these visits caused much introspection and clarity in my life. This experience not only solidified my decision to become a nurse, but it has instilled in me a new motivation and drive to get there. Thanks to my elder, I came to realize that life has a great amount to offer and that there is beauty even in the struggle to achieve such goals. - Eve Moran, James Madison University Nursing Student
Perhaps, even when words fail us, our example is enough. Maybe quiet and simplicity are the greatest gifts we can give to young adults who are struggling through the noise and chaos of their own lives.
Maybe it is enough to slow down a hectic schedule, to feel the weight of a dish in your hand as you pass it to a teenager to dry, to smile and listen and give him a reason to leave his phone in a corner to charge.
Maybe it is enough that he sees we're smiling despite past failures and present frailties.
Maybe we're enough for each other this holiday season.
Learn more about VPAS in your community.