How a 3-year-old and a senior developed an unforgettable bond
Before the pandemic, my mom and little brother, 3, attended daily Mass at our neighborhood church. I joined them on the days I had off from school.
There was a man in his nineties with a walker, who always stopped by our pew to greet us on his way back to his seat after Holy Communion. Each morning, my little brother would wait for the man after Holy Communion, hold his hand, and escort him back to his seat.
My brother was normally a very active toddler who moved around a lot in church. However, he somehow knew that he needed to be gentle with this elderly man. It was quite amazing for us and for the other parishioners to see a toddler walking very slowly and holding a senior’s hand with such tender care and love.
When the man’s legs became too weak to walk up the slope to the Church, and he could no longer attend daily Mass, our family would visit him at his senior care residence on special occasions. My brother would chat and sing with his friend, and they were both very happy to spend time with each other. When we delivered flowers and cards to senior care homes during Easter, as part of the “Blooms into Rooms” project, my brother was delighted to see his friend and present him with flowers and a card.
Then the pandemic struck. For more than a year, my brother could not visit his friend. We had also misplaced his phone number, so we couldn’t call him either.
However, God works in mysterious ways. Although indoor worship was suspended, we could go to church after online Mass on Sunday to receive Holy Communion. On Palm Sunday 2021, we bumped into the elderly man’s daughter after church and asked about her dad.
She told us he was in the hospital because of a fall and had caught an infection. It wasn’t Covid, but he still had to be in isolation. She gave us the address of his residence and said the best way to contact him was to send a card or letter there, for him to read when he returned from the hospital. We asked if we could call him at the hospital, and she said we could try.
Our phone line at home had been very crackly, and though the telephone repairman came that week, the clarity of the phone line had improved only marginally. However, we decided to go ahead and try to call our friend at the hospital, and on Holy Thursday, my brother talked to him on the phone. He told us that he was so lonely at the hospital. My little brother sang “Jesus Loves Me This I Know” and “Immaculate Mary,” and prayed the Guardian Angel Prayer with him.
On Easter Sunday, we walked to church after online Mass to receive Holy Communion. We were carrying the Easter card we had made for the man and his wife, hoping to bump into his daughter again. We didn’t see her outside the Church, and we started walking home using a different path than the one we normally took.
God was helping us, and we unexpectedly met the man’s wife and two of his daughters. We passed them the Easter card, and his daughters said that their dad could not stop talking about the phone call. He was so joyful to have talked to my brother, and kept referring to him as his guardian angel.
We were planning to call my brother’s friend at the hospital again, but on the day we planned to call, the priest announced during Mass that our friend had passed away the day before. We were shocked and saddened that we had not called earlier. We had thought he would recover and we could visit him again when the pandemic was over. However, we were grateful we had managed to call and send a card.
This experience taught us of the love of God, and that God is always with us, working in our lives. It also taught us to not delay in expressing love to our family and friends, as we don’t know when we will leave this world. Finally, it taught us the ageless beauty of true friendship.
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