My mother and I went to an AIDS Hospice. I first visited there two weeks ago. I gave everyone a stuffed animal, some affirmation cards with uplifting messages and a Team of Angels pin. www.teamofangels.com
I also left one of the huge stuffed animals as a “mascot.” The really big pink one pictured above, sitting on the ground by the van.
As I placed the pink animal on the table, one of the men said, “I want to put that in my room.”
There was a chorus of objection from the other five men saying, “She said it is for all of us. You are always trying to take over things for yourself!”
Someone moved the pink stuffed animal from the dining area to the television room.
Last night, about 7 pm, my mother and I went to the Hospice. We rang the bell repeatedly but no one came to the door. I placed the bags of stuffed animals on the pavement and my arms juggled bags of Hershey Kisses and cookies from Trader Joe’s. We were beginning to think that our trip might have been a waste of time because nobody came to the door.
A pretty woman about 30 years of age and another nice-looking man, stood behind us. They were “residents” of the AIDS Hospice. She said,” I was not here the last time you brought the stuffed animals. I hope you will not be mad at me if I tell you something. You know the big pink animal…I took it and put it on my bed. I need something to sleep with.”
I looked into the bags on the pavement. All were Boyd’s Bears. Do you know how expensive they are? And how cute?
She found one with a purple velvet cape and velvet hood. It was truly magnificent looking, a regal bear.and big!
My mother and I went in and set up the DVD player to show some old clips of television shows and songs from the past. I looked over to my right. The woman had “returned” the big pink animal to the living room area. About 8:30 pm, we were getting ready to leave and guess what? She took the pink animal back up to her room. I guess when you have the AIDS virus and you are living with others suffering the same anguish, this is one little thing that can enrich your life.
We watched these DVD’s:
Only the Strong Survive by Jerry Butler
Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Judy Garland
The Lord’s Prayer – Johnny Mathis
Flash Mob – My Favorite Things
Eight residents came down from their rooms and enjoyed selecting stuffed animals for:
I have a son who would like some of these.
I want to give some to my friends at church.
I saw one man take five, and another had a plastic bag filled with seven or eight. Yes, these are very grown up men who need comfort and beauty in their lives. The stuffed animals were all very beautiful.
WHERE DID YOU WORK BEFORE YOU CAME TO LIVE HERE?
I was a carpenter. I was not Union. My father taught me how to be a carpenter. My favorite song is My Favorite Things – the Jazz version by John Coltrane. My mother used to play it around Christmas time. That was a very special family memory for me.
(I think I will bring this song down to him the next time I visit.)
I owned five restaurants before I got the virus. Can you and your mother come upstairs with me? I want to show you my pictures of my family. (Every single space on his bedroom wall was covered with snapshots, Polaroid pictures, cut out pictures from magazines, menus from his restaurant, newspaper clippings.)
Before I came here, I used to wash hair in a beauty salon. My mother lost her battle to lung cancer a couple of months ago.