This I Believe

Dawn - Norcross, Georgia
Entered on December 3, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50
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I Believe In the Power of Enriching Other People’s Lives

It wasn’t long ago that I found myself caring about people that I didn’t even know. After a 10-year career as a flight attendant, I quit my job to stay home and raise my three children. Last year, at 42 years old, I decided to go back to college and finish earning that degree that I never completed.

After deciding to pursue a career in nursing, I found myself in the first rotation of clinicals at a near by nursing home. I honestly was not prepared to face to inevitable fact that someday I might be at living at this very place. I am fortunate, no one other than my great-grandmother has ever lived in a nursing home; she has since passed. My only surviving grandmother is 85 years old and she lives in her home that she has owned for fifty years.

Nursing homes are not a familiar place to me. I was excited about the experience of being out of the classroom environment, but had many reservations about what I was about to experience. As I became familiar with the routine of the resident’s daily lives, I began to think, “Is this all they have to experience at this point in their lives,” this made me sad. As they watched me drive away, I wondered, if they ever missed the life outside the window. Tears would flow from my eyes as I made my way home in my sporty little convertible. Why did I feel this way? Aging is a natural process of life. I could not understand my personal sadness, when they seemed so content. A few weeks later and after sending time with the residents, something changed; daily they exposed me to a world within their window. They did not require that feeling of the wind blowing through their hair or the hustle and bustle of my world. They exposed me to their world as I feed them, bathe them and tucked them into bed. Only now, could I know and feel the security, comfort and one-on-one attention that we all seek in life. Little did they realize being a small part of their life, enriched my life more than words can say.