Gestures of Love



One of the most touching gestures of love I ever witnessed came when I was working at a skilled nursing facility. One of the residents no longer could care for herself and needed complete assistance. She was quite vegetative and unresponsive most of the time. On Valentine’s Day I heard a beautiful Irish brogue emanating from her room. As I passed I saw a man lovingly making up her face, applying her blush and singing her love songs…sweetly and tenderly. Though I had never met him, I knew it was her husband.  I was so moved I had to pass by the room several more times and saw him brushing her hair…still singing to her and later he was holding her hand close to his chest and the way he sang to her you could feel the depth of his love. He sang to her and held her hand all afternoon. She did not show any sign of recognition but as she lay there looking as beautiful as ever, she had a presence of peace which I had never seen before.

Another gesture of love was at the same facility when one of the residents who never spoke but would smile somewhat harmlessly as she wandered up and down the halls. It was during the Christmas holidays when her son came to visit her. He brought a boom box with him and turned on her favorite music. Then he grabbed her by the waist and started dancing with her.  Her face lit up and you could see the twinkle in her eyes. Not only could she dance…but she was an excellent dancer. Suddenly all the clumsy slowness that had characterized her being fell away and before my very eyes I saw her lose twenty years off her life. She floated from one end of the room to the other, while every resident and staff watched her…her beauty…her animation…her joy.

These acts remind me so much of the power of love and that the best expressions of love are not from gifts and cards but on our actions toward each other.