Kids Life Tuscaloosa May-June 2020 - Page 14

An Eternal Connection By Brooke O’Briant t all started on December 20, 2018. I got a call from a case worker at DCH about an older gentleman who wasn’t in the best of living situations and needed as- sistance. This precious gentleman was Mr. Nathaniel Hudson. Little did I know an unbelievably special friendship was being formed and the good Lord was crossing my path with this kind soul to not only impact his life but mine as well. I do marketing and admissions at North River Village Assisted Liv- ing. You could call me their “tour guide.” On December 21, 2018, I picked Mr. Hudson up from his apartment. Bless his heart, it was tiny and run down, and I knew then, I wanted to do everything in my power to help improve his living situation. When I arrived, he was raring to go, dressed in his suit and hat. He looked so sharp that day; I would later realize that he wore a suit every day. I re- member telling him how nice he looked and him holding onto my arm as we walked to my car. He toured our community that day and absolutely loved it. In fact, he didn’t want to leave our facil- ity that day, and it broke my heart that I had to take him back to his tiny, dark apartment while I worked through the arrangements for him to move into our community. While he was at our facility that day, he attended a Christmas concert and for the fi rst time (of many!) I saw him dance. He loved to dance; if he heard a beat of any kind, he was on his feet. I grew to love watching him dance because he truly didn’t care what people thought, he just lived in the moment. After his time at the community was over that day, we went to KSV Restaurant, near where he lived, and had lunch together and then I took him back home. After that, it took a few months to get things lined up for him, in addition to a long hospital stay, but on April 5, 2019, he was discharged from DCH. I will never forget going up to his fl oor that day to get him; he said he was ready to “break out of here.” We left and I took him to his new home at North River Village! He was so excited!!! So many pre- cious employees and sponsors at the facility pitched in to donate bedding, lamps, décor, toiletries and other items to decorate his new place. I felt so good knowing he was in a safe, clean place with three meals a day, nurses making sure he took his medications, and new friendships to lift his spirits. Over the following 12 months, Mr. Hudson and I became close buddies. He wasn’t close with any family, so I gladly stepped up to be a daughter to him. From helping him with his mail, his cell phone, dry cleaning, his bills, taking him to appointments at the VA, keeping him stocked with toiletries, his favorite drinks and snacks, etc., I became his “supervisor.” That’s what he told people I was, and it always made me laugh. He went to church with my family and spent time with my children many times. He proudly told everyone he saw at church that day that I was his I 14 daughter, and it melted my heart. I was so proud to hold onto his arm throughout worship and the sermon. He danced at his seat that day and everyone around him enjoyed it. I started to grow very fond of this elderly man, to say the least. Mr. Hudson loved his new home and participated in games, made new friendships, and loved the exercise group, but his fa- vorite was our theater. He was in there just about every day. He loved a good romantic movie; he was a hopeless romantic and always talked about wanting to fi nd a wife. He even jokingly proposed to me in the beginning of our fi rst meeting and I had to inform him that I was taken. The months went on and Mr. Hudson started to slowly decline. About a month ago, he was di- agnosed with leukemia. We were all devastated when we got the news. During a hospital stay, the staff started asking him ques- tions about nursing homes and end of life care and he said “I’m not making any decisions without Brooke.” A different nurse’s note indicated that he said, “Brooke is my everything.” Reading those hospital notes ripped my heart out. I was so honored to read those words but so saddened that my buddy had such a poor prognosis. Since Mr. Hudson had offi cially discharged from the facility and was going to a nursing home, he made me his power of attorney. I wanted to make sure that he was properly cared for and all of his needs in his fi nal days were met, and I was honored and humbled to represent him. On March 25, I went to see Mr. Hudson and take care of some important paperwork with him. While I was there I pulled up a chair beside him, asked him some questions, and had the honor of leading him to Christ! My heart was overwhelmed and I cried tears of joy. I left that day knowing that no matter what happened, I would see him again. On April 14, 2020, around 3:30 p.m., Mr. Hudson went to be with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The rehab nurses told me that prior to his passing he sang “Amazing Grace” so loudly that it echoed throughout their facility. He had been a little con- fused in his last days, but he remembered every word to the