It's The Little Things

by Jessica Nielsen
Alberta, Canada
genre: General

Some of the loneliest people are our aging elderly left behind in the care homes.

Barely seen or spoken to.

Some of the loneliest times in their lives is around the holidays.

Working as a health care aide during my practicum I met the most sweet, kind and loving elderly lady. She was getting close to the age of ninety-five or so, upon waking her one day she stated how much she loved Christmas, the lights, the family gatherings, but her most favorite part was the trees.

Standing tall, lit up with multiple colors and all the little bells and whistles.

This got me to thinking how can I help her feel she is in her own little wonderland.

She was unable to do much and spent most of her time laying in bed looking out her window that had no scenery. Other than that, she slept much of the time as with aging comes exhaustion.

Then as a mother of seven I had to encounter the dollar store holiday rush. Walking the isles of the store, I came across the cutest little fiber optic tree. No bigger than two feet tall, the boughs were smashed and janky, and the battery pack was loosely fitted underneath. It was not anything fancy but it was perfect for her bedside table.

I purchased it, a few little bulbs, some garland and batteries.

My shift at work was the morning routines beginning at six. I decided I would arrive just a bit early. This would allow me enough time to place it in her room before she was having to get up for breakfast routine.

So that is what I did.

I spent some time eating breakfast in my car, putting on all the bulbs, garland and making sure everything worked with the lights.

I mean honestly, sometimes you just never know from a dollar store but it lit up. It had a slightly dull look to it, not really bright but the decorations gave it just enough of a glitter that it didn’t look too shabby.

I placed it in the bag and began my way in.

I think I was more excited and happier to do this than anything. She made her love of the holiday sound so amazing I just could not help myself.

She truly deserved it, of all the things I can only imagine she went through in her lifetime, it was the least I could do for her.

As the elevator door open the third floor of the care home, it was completely silent and dark.

Not even the overnight shift aides were wandering about.

It was just silence.

I made my way down the hall; her room was located at the far end to the right. Ever so quietly opening her door and hoping she did not wake; I made my way to the second bed closest to the window area. She was so blissfully sleeping, curled up in her blankets, not a care to be had by the look on her face.

I carefully lit and placed the little tree on her bedside table and went about my regularly scheduled day. It was not my shift to wake her but to wake others farther down the hallway.

The morning had passed by and I had not yet had a chance to stop and chat with her however upon my return from my lunch break as I passed her room to head to my locker, I could see her just sitting in her wheelchair her eyes lit up by the colors from the lights, on the bulbs of the tree.

She seemed so lit up as if something in herself ignited being able to enjoy such a small gesture. She looked so happy and content, I had been there for weeks and not once did I see the look, she had on her face that day, except of course when she talked of her love the Christmas trees.

I stood there in awe.

I could not believe how amazing I felt.

It truly is the little things in life that count the most and bring us the most joy. 

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