Stories of Kindness from Around the World

Being There When He Needed It Most

--by wayfarer, posted Jan 30, 2009

Mr Mitchell was our neighbour for a while. He and his wife had been the terrors of the local kids before we came to the square. If a ball went into their garden it was never seen again-- that kind of thing.

Well, she was gone now and Mr Mitchell was in his late eighties. The rose garden he had planted for her was an overgrown jungle and that was how I came into his story. I knew he was infirm, but I didn't know if he had any help and none of the other neighbours cared anymore. (They'd put up with it a lot longer than we had.)

One summer Mr Mitchell was taken into hospital for a short stay. While he was away I thought he might like to come home to a neat and tidy garden, one he could sit out in on sunny days. Even to get into the back yard I had to cut away overgrown rose bushes. It was real Sleeping Beauty's castle stuff.  Not knowing whether he'd aprove or not I chopped and clipped and mowed and dug (worrying all the time that I might be going too far.)  He never said if he liked it, but he began to sit out more. He never said he didn't like it, so for the next couple of years I kept on doing it.

Being really frail he often took tumbles. One night after laying on the floor for two hours unable to get up he banged on the wall between our houses and I went and picked him up. This happened again and again. Eventually he asked if I would take an alert beeper in case he needed help.

I became some kind of a nurse. I would pick him up in my arms, help him dress and undress, once I even wiped his bottom for him. I started going in nightly just to see he was okay and stroke his brow as he lay in bed.  Through all of this he was still a cantankerous old man.

Mr Mitchell is not with us now, but before the end he showed me his medals from WWII. He'd been a boy on a minesweeper ship during the war. Being the youngest and fastest he was always chosen to light the fuses on the depth charges before they were hurled over the side.  None of these heroics made him any nicer a person, but don't you think a man like that, having done all that, deserved just a little something back when he needed it most?

If I was chosen as the instrument to bring a little care into his final years, then ... I'm glad.

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Readers Comments

Joan Y wrote: I just want you to know your story inspired me when i read it awhile back. My friends had a elderly neighbor who lived alone and as she aged, kept falling and ended up in the hospital. I knew her from the holiday parties at my friend's house and consider her an acquaintance. Not being family or a close friend, i still felt she might be lonely at the hospital while her children were on their way from out of state so i visited her twice a day, to bring her flowers, something to read, or just chat. I think she really appreciated it. She ended up leaving the state to live with her children, but i think her children must have appreciated it because when i put in an offer to buy her house when she left so that i could live close to my friends, the family accepted. Your inspiring story taught me that everyone can offer a little care in the life of others and i feel doubly thankful for the opportunity. Thank you.
Z wrote: Good job! Ur story is in my ws, i admire u!
Kwame wrote: You have sown a good seed and surely the fruits will be good. And no matter how retaliatory we are, we must learn to show the god side of us to both young and old.
hotcocoa wrote: Thanks for helping him.

Thanks much.

And for sharing this true beautiful story with us, god bless.

Congrats on what you did :)
efilym wrote: We all have a chance to do something for others. Something of which we are not expecting anything back in retun for the good deeds, yet everything is watched by the creator, and in his time, u will be blessed more. All the best and keep it up
Ann wrote: Wow, is all i can say. That experience made me shed a tear. Wonderful.
Monica wrote: I know someone like this. My father. He is a grouch and hard on the outside, but if you know him, truly know him, you know that he is soft and caring on the inside. Somewhere in his life something tought him to hide it. A rough life, i suppose. I have seen him nurse a baby chick back to life. He ran into a neigbors burning barn to save three dogs. I think this person was lucky to have you because you saw through his rough exterior and realized that on the inside we are all have worth. Thank you for not giving up on him. You are a wonderful person.
chelle wrote: This is a inspirational story. Im glad that you shared it to us. God bless you!
helpinghand wrote: Thanks for sharing a wonderful story.
flowerlocket wrote: What a beautiful story. We need more like you. Thank you for sharing your spirit with us. This is truly inspiring. God bless you. : )

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