Carol Cummings, RN, BSN, Expert on Aging Well

Contact Carol
05 December 2016

My family recently experienced the loss of an elderly relative.  We will drop everything and some will travel a great distance at great expense to be present at the funeral of this beloved family member. That is what we do, what most people do. There are other things that we drop everything for too- like weddings or keeping vigil at the bedside during a serious illness.

But, a recent viral video invites us to pause, to ask the question: Are we dropping everything for the right things? In the video (watch here) we see an older man and on his phone answering machine we hear the voices of his loving family “Papa we aren’t going to make it there this year, but we love you!” 

He looks out the window, clearly sad. Next he is sitting at the head of his long dining room table. It is Christmastime and he is dressed for dinner, dining alone. We see his family, busy young professionals going about decidedly important work-a doctor, a businessman, a mother,  

 In the next scene the family members are notified that their beloved Papa/grandpa has died. They gather together, crying and hugging. We then see them, all dressed in black, as they enter his home to find the table set-including burning candles. A puzzled look comes over their faces. When out of the kitchen a smiling Papa emerges. The clip ends with the family around the table where Papa declares, “How else was I going to get you here?”

Wow! What a powerful message. Who among us would not give up some time/work/task to spend even one more hour with a lost loved one?  None of us knows if we will have tomorrow with our family members. But the false promise of more time lulls us into complacency. 

As we enter into this very busy time of year-I wish you the most important things. Time with those you love, peace, and joy!

Be Well on Purpose!

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