Being next to each other mattered

Published 10:10 am Thursday, August 8, 2013

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it, is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” — William Arthur Ward


For many years, my family has enjoyed the variety of community issues addressed in your Letters to the Editor. Whether the situations would qualify as good, bad or ugly, your willingness to publish these opinions affords people (from all walks of life) the opportunity to share important messages to more than just friends. For that, we are grateful.

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My family has recently been the beneficiary of compassion and kindness that deserves special recognition. We hope you think so, too.

The past several months have been very challenging for my family. Both my wife and I have experienced serious illnesses, and our sudden need for care left us in an unfamiliar, uncomfortable place. Our concerns were quickly put at ease at St John’s Lutheran Home.

We understand that we are not the first to be faced with a difficult situation like this, but for us it was uncharted territory.

Imagine this: A few months ago I was recovering from spinal surgery and, as usual, I was being cared for by my beautiful bride of 46 years, Darlene. During my recovery, Darlene learned the terrible news that her cancer had returned. (She has been battling cancer now for more than a year.) In a matter of days, we both found ourselves in need of significant medical care, and the idea of being separated was very difficult.

Shortly after I was admitted to St. John’s, the administrators and nursing staff were made aware of Darlene’s situation. The thoughtful caregivers at St. Johns not only made arrangements for Darlene to be cared for at their facility, they arranged for us to be very near each other. I’m not going to mention names (for fear of forgetting someone). We hope they know who they are and understand what they’ve meant to us.

We know that this is not extraordinary for them. They certainly did not do it for any fanfare. This just seems to be “the way they do things.” We must say, however, for this one family and this one occasion, their care meant everything to us. And it just wasn’t what they did, but how they did it. They treated two “strangers,” with the dignity and compassion usually reserved for the closest of friends. Our community is fortunate to have such a wonderful facility as St. John’s. Our family couldn’t be more grateful.


Francis Delgado
Albert Lea