Sunday, 25 December 2011

Task 15: A very different Christmas

It is 4pm on Christmas day and I am just settling down to unwrap my presents. Normally by this time I have opened every gift, battling indigestion and preparing for an afternoon nap before attempting to play card games with the grandparents. This year however is slightly different, by 10am I was at a local nursing home volunteering and helping with their very special day. The care home deals with physical disabilities and I don't think I was prepared for the people I was going to meet. On what could of been such a difficult day I have never felt such a positive and welcoming atmosphere. All the carers were so enthusiastic in ensuring the residents had as festive a day just like anybody else and the home was decorated with your usual Christmas trees and also in birthday decorations for a lovely resident who turned 60 today.

I was honoured to meet every resident as they all got ready for their Christmas dinner, whilst each had a different disability they all shared the same cheeky personality and heart warming smile. Not all could speak well but that smile could speak a million words with how much it meant to be able to celebrate Christmas. Throughout the 4 hours there were highs and lows, one moment of laughter could be met with floods of tears and I am not going to lie and say I found it easy. I have a new found respect for any carer who have the patience and kindness to do this everyday and I think a lot of people do not appreciate the work they do. I truly appreciate being able to surround myself with family every Christmas but for some a carer is the only face they will see today.

There was one gentleman in particular that was very special, when having a discussion about the make-up I wore and presenting yourself he assured me 'beauty is only skin deep'. I havent forgotten this and found this so profound- I soon remembered that the way I dress or do my hair will not make me a better person. It is what is on the inside that counts and all the people I met today are truly beautiful inside and out.

I hope in the time I spent there I was able to make some difference to their Christmas- even with washing up not being my strong point!! All evening I have thought about what they are all up to, which is a refreshing change from wondering what my next facebook status should be or watching eastenders Christmas special. I was privileged to spend time at the home and will definitely be returning to visit them all again. I urge everybody to take one day out of 2012 to volunteer and perhaps give their lives a little perspective that so many of us need.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and thank you for reading X

My amazing family- a lovely personalised Chritmas decoration from our neighbours

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