When I turned 81, I was diagnosed with Osteoporosis, which made it difficult for me to move around without assistance. My condition also made it difficult for my son Tyler and his wife Macy to take care of me, so they decided to move me to a nursing home.
“We can’t be tending to you the entire day, mom,” Tyler told me. “We have work to do. We’re not caregivers.”
I wondered why he suddenly felt that way towards me, as I always tried to stay out of their way so I wouldn’t disrupt their daily schedules. I would stay in my room and use my walker to assist me whenever I needed to walk to another area of the house.
“I’ll stay out of your way, I promise. Just don’t send me to a nursing home, please. Your father built this house for me, and I’d love to keep living here for the rest of my life,” I begged.
Tyler shrugged me off, saying that the house my late husband James had built was “too big for me.”
“Come on, mom,” he said. “Leave the house to Macy and me! Look at all this space – we can have a gym and separate offices. There’s plenty of room to renovate.”
At this point, I understood that his decision to move me to a nursing home was not because he wanted me to get proper care but to get my house for himself. I was deeply hurt, trying to stop myself from crying upon realizing that somehow, Tyler had grown up to be a selfish man.
“Where did I go wrong?” I asked myself when I got into my room that night. I thought I had raised a well-mannered man, but it seems I was wrong. I never expected to be betrayed by my son.
Without giving me much of a choice, Tyler and Macy took me to a nursing home nearby, where they said I’d get round-the-clock care from the nurses. “Don’t worry, mom, we’ll visit as much as we can,” Tyler assured me.
Hearing this, I realized that maybe moving to a nursing home wasn’t too bad because they’d come to see me anyway. Little did I know, Tyler was lying and simply trying to get me off his back.
Every day at the nursing home seemed like an eternity. Although the nurses were friendly and the other patients were nice to talk to, I still longed to be with family and not in a place full of strangers.
Without a phone or tablet, I wrote letters to Tyler every day asking him to visit me or how they were doing. Not once did I get a response nor a visit.
After two years in the nursing home, I lost any hope of anyone coming. “Please, take me home,” I would pray every night, but after two years, I tried to convince myself not to get my hopes up anymore.
One day, however, I was surprised to find out from my nurse that a man in his forties was at the counter, looking for me. “Did my son finally come to visit?” I said, getting my walker quickly before making my way to the front.
When I got there, I had a big smile on my face thinking it was Tyler, but to my surprise, it was another man I hadn’t seen in ages. “Mom!” he called out and gave me a tight hug.
“Ron? Is it you, Ron?” I asked him.
“It’s me, mom. How have you been? I’m sorry it took me so long to visit you. I just arrived back from Europe, and I went straight to your house,” he said.
“My house? Did you see Tyler and Macy there? They put me in this nursing home a couple of years ago, and I haven’t seen them since,” I revealed.
Ron looked at me sadly and asked for me to sit down. We sat in front of each other on the couch, and he began to fill me in on what had happened in the past two years I was inside the nursing home.
“Mom, I’m sorry you have to hear this from me. I thought you already knew,” he started to say. “Tyler and Macy died in a house fire last year… I only found out when I went to your house and saw it abandoned. I decided to check the mailbox to see if I could get information on where to find you, and I saw all your unread letters,” he explained.
I couldn’t believe what Ron was telling me. Although I felt resentment towards my son for what he did to me, hearing about his death still broke my heart. I cried that entire day, mourning him and my daughter-in-law Macy.
Throughout my crying, Ron never left my side. He consoled and stayed with me without saying a word until I was ready to speak again.
Ron was a boy I once took into my home. He and Tyler were childhood friends and were inseparable when they were younger.
Unlike Tyler, who had everything he could possibly want, Ron lived in poverty and was raised by his grandmother after his parents passed away. I treated him like my own son, fed him, clothed him, and made him live with us until he moved out to study college in Europe.
After getting a high-paying job in Europe, Ron didn’t return to the US, and we eventually lost touch. I never thought I’d see him again until he showed up at the nursing home.
“Mom,” he said after I finally calmed down. “I don’t believe you belong here in this nursing home. Will you please allow me to take you home? I would love to take care of you,” he said.I couldn’t help but cry once more. My own son kicked me out of my house, and in front of me was a man who wanted to take me in, even though I wasn’t his blood relative. “Would you really do that for me?”
“Of course, mom. You don’t even have to ask that. You raised me to be who I am today. Without you, I’m nothing,” Ron said, hugging me.
That evening, Ron helped Jude pack her things and took her into his newly-purchased home. There, Jude discovered he had a large family, and they welcomed Jude warmly. She spent her last years in happiness, surrounded by people who truly loved her and cared for her.
What can we learn from this story?
Respect your elders and never forget what they’ve done for you. Tyler didn’t show appreciation to his mom despite everything she had done for him. He didn’t want the responsibility of taking care of her when she got older and chose to send her to a nursing home.
Family doesn’t always mean blood. Ron didn’t see Jude for years but never forgot about the kindness she showed him when he was younger. Ultimately, he decided to repay her kindness by taking her in and caring for her for the rest of her life.