“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
The Mansion aides and staff gathered today for a staff meeting, and since they are all rarely in the same place at the same time, I took advantage of the meeting to get a rare photo of them together.
They wanted to say thanks to you.
At the meeting, each of the aides got a $50 bill in a special envelope, contributed by the Army Of Good, presented to them by Mansion Director Kassi Garmley.
The aides were also told that the Amazon Mansion Aides Christmas Wish List sold out after just a few hours Monday night and early Tuesday.
It was a warm and lovely exchange all around.
We wanted to appreciate them and the work they do, they wanted to appreciate us and the support we are offering this holiday season. How nice if the whole world worked that way.
We are setting up a new Break Room so the aides can finally get some rest and eat lunch or dinner in peace and privacy.
We provided the $50 Christmas gift and the wish list so the aides can give the gifts they want to give to their children and their loved ones.
I got a lot of hugs today from aides wanting to thank me for this support, although not nearly as many hugs as Zinnia got. She was eager to horn in on the celebration, she found Tia’s lap. If you want attention, don’t hang around with Zinnia.
I get embarrassed by thanks, flummoxed,I never really know what to say, except “thank you.” One of the aides wrote me a text message saying “I love you,” and I was completely tongue-tied. When she asked me later why I didn’t reply, I said I didn’t know what to say.
And I don’t.
It has been a great privilege and inspiration for me to see these special and very dedicated people do their work, which is loving, rewarding, difficult and often unpleasant. I feel a very powerful connection with them.
Until a few years ago, I had no idea such people existed or what they did. I am richer for the experience.
The group photo of the aides is a beautiful tableau of heart, soul, and compassion.
Health care workers are notoriously underpaid, but that never shows up in the work they do and the dedication they provide.
I’ve never heard an aide complain about the hard work they do caring for the residents in the most personal and demanding ways.
These are loving people who become very attached to the people who come to the Mansion to live, and they see so much discomfort, sickness, and death. The relationship between these aides and the residents is often intense.
They often have to say goodbye to people they love over and over again, but they learn quickly to be resilient and dedicated. They learn to feel, but also to let go.
Some have become good friends, some I rarely see and hardly know.
But I know from the residents how loved they feel and how grateful they are for the care they get. They help people to shave and shower, go to the bathroom, clean up after accidents, help prepare for bed, bring medications.
I am hoping to give some of the residents small amounts of cash so they can buy the aides Christmas presents. Some have told me this is the worst thing about having little money of your own.
Over the past year or so I have tried to adjust my energy and our Army Of Good work to include the aides, they make the Mansion possible. I have seen firsthand just how much they sacrifice, how hard they work, how difficult it is to keep up on the salaries they make.
I am privileged and thankful that we were able and willing to support their Christmas this year. I wish them all and their children the happiest of Christmases.
I hope to keep up this work with the aides, they are needy too, and they are valuable and essential. Not everyone can do that kind of work. I couldn’t.
So they got together to offer you their thanks, and I don’t know about you, but it got pretty emotional for me. How lucky I am to know people like you.
One of the Mansion executives asked me some months ago if I had any good slogans in mind for the Mansion or for the staff who care for the residents.
As it happens, I did, and I do. It’s a quote from Roy Bennett, author of The Light in the Heart: “Be mindful. Be grateful. Be true. Be kind.” If the aides had a flag, that might be woven onto it.