by Fr. Keith Branson, C.PP.S.
As many of you know, I’ve been living at Our Lady of Mercy Country Home for about a year and a half now. It’s a wonderful place, and I am very blessed they have let me make my home with them. One benefit has been during this time of closing down, I am shut in with a lot of people whom I can visit with regularly, which keeps me from spending too much time staring at the walls or the television set. I am a big introvert, but not so much that I’d be happy as a hermit on in a cave on a distant mountaintop.
My housemates are holding up all right, but the strain tells. Although we’re all happy to finally be able to celebrate Mass together here at the home’s chapel, we’re still going to be in the last wave of reopening. One thing the home is doing here is setting up video gatherings for residents who aren’t tech-savvy. It doesn’t matter who mobile they are, or how much they are in command of their wits, talking with loved ones on FaceTime or Zoom is the light of their day. Most of the rooms I go into have cards and letters from loved ones posted as well, and the residents will tell me about their correspondents with pride. The folks who aren’t in touch with loved ones have a tougher time.
Our problems always diminish when we can reach out, as Gaspar and his followers did. If we are concerned with what to do during this time, let me recommend getting in touch with the elders however you can. Just the emotions of being in contact can be the best medicine ever for all of us. The exact words don’t matter at times, just the sound of the voice and the tone of love is enough even if our loved one won’t remember what we’ve said or who we are.