You might call this blog response “What I have learned from Visiting Esther Freeman.”
I have been visiting her regularly now for a couple of years. I do other visits in assisted living and nursing home and hospice situations, too. But my visits with Esther have been more meaningful than any of the others. Why is this? I think it is because Esther has so much to offer. I come away after each visit feeling better and happier about the world. We talk in comfortable ways about meaningful subjects. Little of our chats is just about the weather, her surroundings, etc. I think Esther has a deep religious faith which is not pretentious or fancy. But it runs deep and true. She believes in a loving God. She prays a lot. We usually end our sessions with brief prayers. Sometimes I pray for her and her life and health. Sometimes she prays for me and my life. And sometimes we both pray together.
Since I am myself within the ranks of the old, I share many memories of times she thinks about. The other day we found that both our families had an Essex car during the 1930’s—a wonderful car which we both remembered fondly.
I really believe—and she says this herself—that her long and meaningful life is due to her ability to trust that “all things will be well.” She doesn’t have to carry around a load of worry. She KNOWS that whatever comes, God will take care of her. This has been a wonderful rock of strength for her, as she deals with the transition into being in a personal care home, after being in Hospice for 22 months. “Whatever comes, I know it wlll be all right,” she has told me several times. Each day is a gift to her. Her mind is sharp, and she craves good conversation and talking about things that matter.
Esther believes that Tina has been wonderful to her, and I share this belief, too. Tina really works hard to be with her mother, to manage her health care, to get her out to eat meals at home, to go to concerts and other events. Tina gives Esther the gift of love and care. And her mother and Tina happily share loving three frisky little dogs. Esther really enjoys them, she tells me.
I see so many other really old people who have absolutely no one who visits them, or no one who takes them seriously. Lots of them are mostly invisible to busy people, which is their loss as well as the old people’s. This is not the case with Esther. Esther is very grateful. She knows she is very blessed. We are blessed to have her, too.