Tom started working at a nursing home to honor his late grandmother’s memory. He loved it and thought about making it his future career. One day, a new resident showed up, and she was the carbon copy of his grandma. However, the truth about her was something he had never imagined.

The teenager started frequenting the nursing home a year ago when his grandmother, Annette, died. His parents had placed her at the facility because her health had deteriorated. Tom used to spend all his time at her house before that, but he couldn’t visit that often because they lived in Miami. It took over an hour to get to the nursing home, and his parents wouldn’t drive him.

His eyes were wide, and his heart was beating like a strong drum in his chest. The new resident of the nursing home was the vision of Annette. How is this possible? he wondered, shocked.
Sadly, Annette died unexpectedly, and Tom was heartbroken. He cried and felt lost for a long time until he decided to take the bus to Delray Beach and visit the nursing home where his grandma used to live.
He asked the staff if they had any memories of the older woman and was surprised to hear that everyone loved her. Of course, they did. She was terrific and full of life.

After hearing stories from the staff, he asked the residents, and soon enough, he was volunteering to help them with other stuff.

That day at the nursing home had changed his life forever, so he asked management if he could come more often. They gladly agreed, as young people rarely volunteered, and all the residents benefited greatly from seeing teenagers around.

Tom was amazing. Everyone loved him just like they loved his grandmother, and many of the older ladies viewed him as a grandson. The teenager started coming as often as his schooling and parents allowed. He knew it was what he wanted to do in the future. He thought of becoming a nurse or a doctor or of even opening his own facility. That was his calling.
By the end of the day, Tom was exhausted but happy. Suddenly, one of the nurses, Ellie, came over. “Hey, Tom. We have someone new. Can you help us with her bags?” she asked, and the teenager nodded eagerly despite his exhaustion.

He walked to the entrance of the facility where he saw an older woman get out of a taxi and he stopped in his tracks. Ellie was helping her as she moved slowly with a cane, but Tom couldn’t move. His eyes were wide, and his heart was beating like a strong drum in his chest. The new resident of the nursing home was the vision of Annette.

How is this possible? he wondered, shocked.

“Tom… Tom…. Tom!” Ellie called, springing him back to attention. He blinked and finally snapped out of his stupor to help get the lady’s bags out of the trunk as Ellie guided her inside. He followed them towards a room and started the unpacking process.
“Go, Tom. Thank you for this, but I can take it from here. Aren’t you late for the bus? See you next time.” Ellie said goodbye, and Tom waved as he left. He walked toward the bus station and thought about the older lady all the way home. He wanted to kick himself for not even asking for her name, but her image and joke had blanked his mind.

“Mom, did Grandma have any sisters?” he asked his mother that night after arriving home.

“No, sweetie. Remember, my mom was adopted.” Tom nodded his head.

Curious, he went online and started searching for answers, only to discover that many people believed everyone on Earth had a doppelganger.
“That can’t be true,” he thought. He went to sleep still thinking about it. The thought plagued him for the next few days until he returned to the nursing home.

“Oh, young man. I haven’t seen you around,” the woman who looked so much like his grandmother greeted him when he arrived. She was reading in one of the lounge areas. “I wanted to apologize for embarrassing you the other day. I also forgot to introduce myself. I’m Amalia Olsen.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Mrs. Olsen. I’m Tom,” he replied and sat down next to her. “Actually, there’s something I wanted to ask you.”

“Sure.” The older woman put her book down and removed her reading glasses. “What is it?

“Is there any chance you knew my grandmother? You look exactly like her. I’ve been thinking about it for days.” He grabbed his phone from his back pocket, searching for something with his finger.

“Well, who is your grandmother? Is she here?”

“She died a year ago. That’s why I started working here. Well, I don’t get paid, so I should say, I volunteer. But anyway, I wanted to honor her memory. Her name was Annette Markson.” The teenager turned his phone around so the older woman could see a photo of Annette.

But Mrs. Olsen did not move her eyes from Tom’s face. “Annette?” she muttered. “No, it can’t be.”

“What?” he asked, frowning. “Here, look at her picture.”

“Your grandmother was named Annette? Oh, dear.” Mrs. Olsen started to breathe rapidly. Her hand went to her chest, and Tom got worried.

“Mrs. Olsen? Are you alright? I’ll call Ellie right now,” he rose from the couch, but the older woman grabbed his arm.

“No, kid. Sit back down. It’s just… Annette is a name that brings back so many memories, and I wasn’t ready to see what’s on your phone,” Mrs. Olsen started but gestured with her hand. “Let me see now.”

She took the phone he extended and put her reading glasses back on. She stared at the image on the phone for what seemed like an eternity, and silent tears escaped her eyes.

“Mrs. Olsen? What’s going on? Please, I’m so sorry,” he apologized, moving closer to her.

But the older woman shook her head. “No, kid. There’s nothing to apologize for. You have just…made my dream come true,” she revealed, her words breaking with her tiny sobs. “Annette was my sister. We were adopted by different families when she was 6 and I was 4. Then the family that adopted me moved to Ohio. I searched for her for years, but I couldn’t find her.”

“No…” the teenager said in shock.
“Yes, and I eventually gave up and got busy with my own family. I can’t believe… she’s gone. What was she like?” Mrs. Olsen finally looked up from the phone with shining eyes, and Tom started getting emotional.

“Well… she was the best grandma in the world,” he shared and spent the entire day telling Amalia all about her sister and the family she had made, that she was great at sports and studied law but became a housewife, and that she also made the best fried chicken ever, and no one could beat her at Backgammon. Amalia listened attentively, and Tom thought it was the best day of his life.

A few days later, Tom brought his mother and her sister to meet Amalia, who was technically their aunt. As he watched the women speak to the carbon copy of his grandmother, he understood that his work at the nursing home was meant to be.

He knew he would look back at that moment years later when he becomes a doctor caring for senior citizens.

What can we learn from this story?

Caring for others can be a calling. Tom discovered what his future would be by volunteering at the nursing home, and he never regretted his decision.
Love your family as much as possible because you never know when they’ll be gone. Tom and his family couldn’t visit his grandmother that often after moving her to a nursing home, and she died when they least expected it.
Share this story with your friends. It might brighten their day and inspire them.

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