Alice and Ted had a hard life. Both worked in the same factory, but in opposite shifts so that one of them would always be home with their four children. They lived pay check to pay check. They paid the Christmas bills when they got their tax refund. They never went on vacation because they chose to spend their money on their children. They tried to provide for their children as best as they could. They would not have thought themselves deprived in any way because they were happy and had made a happy home.
Even the day when their youngest daughter, Debbie brought home her girlfriend who had been thrown out of her house. The friend’s mother chose her new boyfriend over her own eighteen-year-old daughter. Alice and Ted opened their home to her. They made it work.
Life goes on and Ted died when he was 65. He never retired and worked and enjoyed his children and grandchildren. Without Ted, Alice felt her home was too big and empty. She moved in with her daughter, Debbie and helped care for her children. Somehow Alice also found time to knit, read, and play cards. She did what she chose to do.
At age 70, Alice started to forget things. She couldn’t be trusted to drive the car. She forgot she left the stove on. Dementia was taking over. Then Alice contracted pneumonia. She never really recovered. She was bedridden and needed constant care. Poor Alice, who once was so active, was now completely dependent on others.
Alice was placed in a nursing home near her daughter, Debbie. Debbie visits her mother every lunch hour and has tea with her. After work she, and sometimes her brothers and sisters visit Alice. They all try to smile and make sure Alice is happy in whatever world she lives in. Debbie’s sister is a hair dresser and cuts and styles Alice’s hair. All Alice’s children make sure she is dressed to the nines. The grandchildren burst in the room with their happiness and joy, too.
Alice is happy.
One day, Debbie’s husband asked her why she and her brothers and sisters even bother. Alice doesn’t know one day from another. Debbie simply responded by saying, “My brothers and sisters and I went to bed every night knowing we were loved. My mother deserves to feel the same way, now.”