Category: General

I’m a lucky man

(Reprinted from Jon Shinn’s reflection in “The Bridge”, the official Friends Across the Ages snail mail newsletter. Contact us if you’d like to receive it.)

“I’m a lucky man, to count on both hands, the ones I love.”

From the song Just Breathe by Pearl Jam

Jon ShinnWhen I first heard these lyrics, it struck me that the artist tied his good fortune to the number of people that he loved, rather than to those who loved him. We often think of loneliness stemming from not having anyone who truly cares about you, but it may come just as much from not having anyone who you truly care about. Our friends in nursing homes may have limited opportunities to express kindness and love to others, or may feel jaded and no longer have an active desire to express those emotions. Either way, their feelings of loneliness may be worse because they don’t have anyone to love.

As we spend time with our resident friends this holiday season, let’s remember to not only let them be objects of our love and kindness, but to also look for opportunities to help them express these emotions towards others. By doing so we may help open a doorway to the true joy of the holiday season.

Welcome to the Friends Across the Ages blog…

(c) 2009 Donna Mitchell, www.donnamitchellphotos.comI’m what you would probably call an “Armchair Musician”.  Allison and I have been talking for years now, since before our kids were born (the older one is 4), about going out and playing a few songs at an “Open Mike Night” here in Gainesville. That has yet to happen (there’s still hope), but for almost as long I’ve been saying I’m going to put up a blog, so at least one of them is actually coming to fruition!

I expect that the main focus of this blog will be on the people we’ve met over the years, as a way to tell their stories and what can be learned from them.  That’s four of them up above — Annie Mae, Jethro, Hugh (“Dorsey”), and Sally — you’ll probably hear more about them later.   But, there will also be some entries on lessons learned, and even a rant or two (you may learn more about my distaste for HIPAA laws than you wanted to know).  In general, I hope it will be fun to read and often thought-provoking or inspirational.

We started this organization back in 1999.  More than one thousand nursing home visits later, there are a few anecdotes, words of wisdom, and experiences that are probably worth passing on.  For now, this blog will be the outlet for them.  Truthfully, they could fill a book — and they just might some day (right after we do the Open Mike Night thing).

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