“For small creatures such as we, the vastness is bearable only through love.” Carl Sagan
My dear friend Andrea Ketcham went to visit Vernon today with her son Justis. It had been awhile since she’d seen him (though Justis has come by a couple times with his guitar) as her mother has also been in a nursing home in a different part of town. You may remember wonderful Louise, who suffered a stroke in August. Although Louise shows improvements, she isn’t the same woman that her family once knew, and Andrea spends most of her time at her care home, making sure she gets the attention she needs. We don’t get to see much of each other these days, my friend and I, so I was incredibly blessed that she took time to go see Vernon. It was just as good, if not better, than the spontaneous visits she used to pay me. I love knowing that people still want to be around Vernon, that they still see him as a friend, even if he is different than before. He is still a very special man.
“We had a great visit with Vernon Adams today! The hit songs were Sunday Afternoon by the Kinks, A Day in the Life by the Beatles, Savoy Truffle by the Beatles, and When I’m 64 also by the Beatles. Vernon sang a lot and was very complementary of our little duet, as was Joe. We spoke of home. Joe said that Vernon had been talking about Home lately. In light of my talks with my mom who is in somewhat the same predicament, I asked Vernon what home was to him. he said home is a place where I can be myself and where I am at peace. I asked him if Home was a place or more of a concept and he said maybe more of a concept. I reminded him of the saying that home is where the heart is. We all agreed that we were home in that moment💗”
Another blessing today was that my friend Alannah, who lives about an hour and a half away from the dialysis center. She had signed up for sitting with Vernon, even though she has a one year old baby and two children in school. Fridays are her one day off work and she chose to drive all the way to help me out with Vernon…or maybe just to sit with him because she cares about him too. (She’s helped out several times before.)
But Alannah lives in the same area that the shooters from the San Bernardino massacre lived. Naturally, she was pretty shaken up. She also knew people who were affected directly. I called to let her know that she didn’t have to drive all that way. I could drop my plans and go instead. But she assured me: “Some wise counselor told me once that when you’re sad or depressed, do something good for someone else.”
I couldn’t argue with that, but I finished up my work as quickly as I could and drove up to meet her with Vernon. If nothing else than to give her a hug. She had already finished the last chapters of “The Magician’s Nephew” and had moved on to reading a National Geographic article about dolphin intelligence.
It’s all so heavy. All the bad stuff. Life. Pain. Fear. Loved ones hurting. Strangers dying. But today I feel incredibly thankful to have friends that find their way to us despite how hard it all can be. It means so much. I hope I can be like that more.
We have such inspiring people in our lives. And there is so much love. Sometimes I’m amazed that it hasn’t run out. But that’s the nature of love, isn’t it? It re-energizes us as we receive it. It re-energizes us as we give it. It’s the secret ingredient that makes life good.
(And a Christmas card from his nephrologist! How many of us can say we got that?)