For my job, I have had the privilege of going to several nursing homes in my new territory and offering hand massages as a group activity for residents. My purpose in hosting these activities is to get to know the facility, the nursing staff, the residents and to create awareness of our company's products and services for Hospice. And, while many people cringe at the word 'hospice" because it causes one to think of death, it is more than that. Hospice was created to help the individual and their families to help manage painful symptoms, help to regulate necessary medicines, allow the person and their family to get used to the idea that they may be in the last six months of their life and so on. Hospice also offers support for the resident and their family. Plus, if hospice is done properly, it can provide a new way to look at the transition from this life to the next.
As I have gotten to know some of these amazing people, I have found that there are hundreds and thousands of life stories that need to be told. What has been amazing is that each opportunity that I have had the privilege of holding onto one of these "seasoned" person's hands, I have marveled at what those hands have done for 60-70-80 or 90 years.....cooking, cleaning, farming, bookkeeping, hard working mechanics, taking care of children, chopping vegetables or wood, and hobbies galore!
So, while massaging their hands with fragrant (or unscented) lotion, we talk about their lives: Flight surgeons, factory workers, farmers, moms/dads, brothers/sisters, years developing a business, and years raising children to teach them about life on a daily basis and the like. I ask them questions about what they have done, how many kids they had (or have) and what their family life was like, etc. In some ways, I wish I could record what they tell me so that we can have the family members hear what they are sharing with me as they tell their stories.
In any case, I am finding that it is quite an honor and a privilege to be part of this season of life for these residents. And as you can imagine, some of them are quite alert and only needing a little bit of help here and there while others are totally dependent on the staff and/or their family when they visit. As I spend a few precious moments rubbing and massaging their hands, and offering them a little relaxation,
I notice some of the hands are frail, small and fragile. Other hands are rough, large and/or strong. It is mind boggling to think about all that those hands have done over a lifetime. And, there are moments when I feel that it is as if I have been touching the Hands of God. What an awesome privilege!!!