Have You Run Out of Creative Ideas of Things to Do?

Have you run out of creative ideas of things to do, to entertain your housebound loved one? How about helping them record their story – their history – their heritage. Get a cassette recorder or Cam Corder and get him or her to tell you some stories. Go prepared with a list of questions or topics – for example: The first time they met their spouse, their wedding day or the day you (or their first child) was born.

I asked my Mom to write down what she remembered about the day I was born. She did and then mailed it to me. On the envelope she wrote “Manuscript”. It is one of my most treasured possessions.

When my husband was diagnosed as terminal, his two children lived 1,300 miles away and it was not possible for them to visit very often. He was never a very demonstrative person and I wanted a way for him to be able to communicate to his children how much he loved them.

I took a spiral notebook and wrote questions on some pages or topics/events on others. One per page. Then I sat beside his bed and literally pumped him for stories that I could later share. This accomplished several things. One of the two most important results was that he recreated a very happy memory and for maybe a mili-second it took away his pain. The other result that I saw as major was that I was able to give his children a treasure that they would never have known about and would never forget.Because he was so ill, it was not possible for my husband to “go back home” for a visit. More than anything he wanted to make this trip just one more time. His daughter borrowed a Cam Corder and narrated a trip to his childhood home, the village he grew up in, the first house he lived in with his wife and children, many of his favorite places. She went to several relatives and friends and just had them wave from their front door or say hello.

She ended the tape at a favorite park that the family has traditionally used for nearly all family celebrations. She paned across the park, up and down the peaceful flow of the water in the creek. All the while she was at the park she was talking to him about how proud she was of him and how much she cared about him. She pointed out the peacefulness of the view and said that she hoped she would see him again, but if she didn’t she hoped that the video would help him understand just how much she loved him. She also told him that she felt that Heaven must be just like it was right here at this park and that was where he was going. He viewed that video over and over – shared it with anyone that would sit thru it. Whatever you can do to make the days shorter and happier will be appreciated by the house bound person. The memories you record will be treasured by any family left behind. The best part though, is the wonderful feelings you will get when you see the results and remember helping to create history.

Copyright by Shaywardncr 10/31/99