elderly holding hands

Do Not Take Your Loved Ones for Granted – by Mike O’Connor

I’m currently sat on a cancer ward at the hospital, waiting for my mum to be discharged after she had surgery to remove a tumor, just a few days ago.

Thankfully, it seems she’s on the mend, at least for now, whilst my Dad, who also has cancer (but his is terminal) patiently awaits her return at home. My parents have been married for over 40-years and, understandably, he is utterly lost without her beside him.

Obviously, there is a real mixture of patients on this ward, with some being very ill indeed, some who are plainly dying and a lucky few, like my mum, who will be going home again.

I watch as families come to visit their loved ones, see brothers, sons, sisters, mothers and fathers trying to put a brave face on everything, trying to be optimistic in the face of such suffering, whilst they themselves are filled with fear.

I observe the hospital staff, from the Doctors, through the nurses to the ward-cleaning team, each and every one of them doing their very best to help their sick patients, reassure the families and support one another in what can be a very tiring and stressful job. All of them are amazing and I’m genuinely in awe of them whilst being grateful beyond words.

I watch as a well dressed elderly man tends ever so gently to his wife. Apparently, my mum tells me, he comes up to visit her at around 7am every morning and stays for ten to twelve hours. He does this every day.

Some days he reads books to her or reads her the newspapers. Sometimes they chat and it makes me smile to see them giggling together as he whispers something funny in her ear. Other times they just sit together in restful companionship. I understand that she was supposed to be going home today but unexpectedly went downhill again this afternoon.

I watch as the old boy holds his love’s hands, looking at her as she sleeps with a mixture of worry and deep love.

I write all of this because spending so much time at the hospital, in recent months, reminds me of just how blessed most of us truly are. If we have family, if we have love, if we have food in our tummies and a warm roof over our heads, then we have everything we need, in my opinion.

Love your people. Please don’t take them for granted. Kiss them, hug them tight, tell them and show them just how much you love them, every single day.

Mike x


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  1. Touching, heartfelt and so true. I can relate deeply as I was one of those people who sat by my beautiful mum’s side for months in hospital last year. Sadly I’ve lost her now but yes, cherish your loved ones. Every day.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The following scripture passage came to mind while I was reading your article:

    “But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. 8 And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.” (1 Timothy 6:6-8).

    I hope you are doing well. God bless you.

    Liked by 2 people

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