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Brody: Time is our most precious commodity

There is a man, a good man. His mother lived in Winchester, and now lives in Florida. Because he was also a devoted son, he drove often to see her.

Years ago, we met him through our relationship with his mother, and he and his wife have been a part of our lives ever since.

Due to fortunate circumstances, he had a good bit of free time. But, instead of playing, he filled his time with volunteering in nursing homes and assisted living homes — not because he had to or needed to, but because he wanted to.

One week, he was with us when we went to volunteer, and all his volunteering stories started pouring out. He loved to talk about it. I had never seen him happier.

We listened, truly loving it.

There was one story that knocked my socks off. Let me share it with you.

At least two days a week, he spent the day at a nursing home or assisted living home. He did everything from feeding the residents or helping residents to feed themselves. Then he would help clean up the floor and the tables afterward.

He read to them. He said to me, “I go to have fun with them.” Imagine, a very successful, middle-aged man saying and meaning such a thing!

Then he told of this one very old, very sweet, always-smiling lady resident. His face softened as he talked about her

One day he was sitting and listening to a group of residents, one of which was this special lady. They all told him stories of long ago — things that had stayed in their memories of their children, husbands, trips they had taken, and even some heartbreaking stories.

It was interesting to hear him say their memories were sweet and loving, for the most part. They didn’t remember the bad things.

When it was time to circulate, he said to them, “I gotta go now. Before I leave, though, is there anything at all I can do for any of you? A cold drink, a cookie, a magazine? Anything at all, I’ll do it for you.”

One or two said, “A cold drink would be nice.” Some said they wanted him to take them back to their room for a nap. There were other requests too.

Finally, and lastly, the lovely, serene old lady he was smitten with, whose head dropped forward because she was unable to hold it erect, smiled sweetly at him and answered his question. She said, “Time.” That was her answer to his question of “What can I do for you?”

If I were given more time in this place, on this earth, what would I do with it?

I would make certain that I had forgiven any and all who hurt me. I’m sorry. I’m sorry it took me so long.

I would ask any and all those I had hurt to forgive me. Anger brings terrible words and thoughts we would not say, or even think, if the weak person I am sometimes, would not take over.

I would thank more, listen with my heart, and always say “I love you” when I feel it.

In other words, as I’ve said before, I would condemn less, tell the truth more, and love — no matter what.

The end.

Jean Brody is a passionate animal lover and mother. She previously lived in Winchester, but now resides in Littleton, Colorado. Her column has appeared in The Sun for more than 25 years.