The Power of Holding Someone's Hand

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This week’s story is a little different. This week’s story is about an act of kindness I witnessed. It’s not as fun and light hearted as most of the other things I cover, but I do think it’s one of the best examples of how connected we all are. For a little background, I also work at Vienna Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Lodi. There was a very cute resident at Vienna. We get a lot of those cute little ladies. This little lady, let’s call her Betty (her real name can’t be shared for HIPAA compliance), had big blue eyes and a cute sense of humor. We all got along with her really well and she was one of those little ladies that we all really enjoyed having.

Betty didn’t have a lot of people come to see her. I don’t know what the story is. I wondered why Betty didn’t have anyone come see her because we really enjoyed her company, but who knows what’s happened in her past. Maybe there’s some family dynamics we didn’t know about. Either way, she was very engaged with us and fun to be around.

Betty came to Vienna for rehab and did an awesome job. She was all finished up and ready to go home, we were just figuring out the logistics. All seemed fine when suddenly her health declined. It was a surprise. She wasn’t in the best of health but she had just been doing so well to get healthy her decline was unexpected. On Thursday Betty was helping us scoop ice cream on the patio for a fun ice cream social, joking around with everyone. When I came in Monday and learned she had gone to the hospital and things weren’t looking good. Social Services called her family but they were unable to come. Tuesday things were looking worse.

Here is where the act of kindness comes in. Nearly every social worker I’ve ever met has a huge capacity to help others in really difficult situations. The Social Worker and her assistant at Vienna are no different. Our Assistant to the Social Worker had been working hard to help Betty.

When Betty transferred to the hospital, and her family didn’t come out to see her, it was our Assistant to the Social Worker who went over to see her. She was the one who made sure Betty had her late husband’s wedding ring in her hands, and that Betty had her own blankets and pillows on her hospital bed so she could feel more comfortable. She went before work and she went after work because it was important to her that Betty wasn’t alone. She gave her personal number to nurses at the hospital and when Betty did pass away, in the early hours of the morning, that woman was there, holding Betty’s hand so she wouldn’t be alone and so that she would know she was loved.

It’s a really human emotion to not want someone to be alone when they pass. We’ll go out out of our way to help others during this time and show our love. This type of stuff doesn’t happen often, but when it does happen, I’m so thankful to be surrounded by people willing to put their needs aside to be there when it matters. Even if that means getting out of bed at 4:00 am to hold the hands of a woman you barely know.

I wanted to share this good story because it’s a reminder of how connected we all are. In the end we’re all human. It may seem like we don’t have a lot in common sometimes but we do in that we all need connection and to be loved. And even people who are nearly complete strangers will be there, when it matters most, during our most basic human experiences, to hold your hand.


Jamie Vilinskas