More elderly people than ever are choosing to remain in their own homes in their senior years, rather than live in a retirement home. However, the worry for family members is that they can’t keep an eye on them all the time. Their elderly family member could fall or suffer a stroke and nobody would be around to call an ambulance.
Luckily, for Darrien Middleton, she has a guardian angel looking out for her grandmother when she can’t be there.
Middleton is a nurse in Jackson, Tennesse, and her shift patterns make it difficult to keep a close eye on her Grandma Wilma. Wilma was diagnosed with lung cancer two years ago, and only 6 months after her surgery to remove part of her lung, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Needless to say, Middleton worried about her beloved grandmother.
Darrien has asked her grandmother to move in with her several times, but Wilma wants to remain in the house where she has lived for 38 years. She loves her home and her independence. Every morning at 6 am she wakes up, makes a coffee and sits on her porch to watch the world go by.
Alongside working night shifts as a nurse, Darrien is also a full-time student, so she has limited time to look after her grandmother. That’s where her neighbors come into play. They check on Grandma Wilma several times a day and have even helped run her to chemotherapy and radiation appointments.
They are honestly what keeps Nana going. I can’t go over to her home without someone at some point yelling ‘Hey Ms. Wilma, How ya doing?’ She knows everyone by name and they know and love her just as much as I do.
Grandma Wilma makes a very special friend
One particular neighbor that has made a huge impact on Grandma Wilma’s life is a 7-year-old boy called Caleb. Caleb, who lives with his own grandmother next door, checks in on Wilma 4-5 times a day to make sure she wakes up from her naps and is doing ok. Caleb may have had a difficult life so far, but it doesn’t stop him from loving and caring for the people around him.
The day I took the picture of them on the porch was the first day I really got to interact with him and get to know this genuine and kind young man. The conversations I’ve had him with him are so heartwarming and touching. Almost every time I think about his story and his heart, I want to tear up. My nana is so attached to him and the bond they have is incredible. He doesn’t come from much, but you can tell he has been raised on love.
Young Caleb has helped Darrien by keeping her grandmother company and allowing her to rest easy knowing that Wilma is being taken care of. Wilma and Caleb have formed an incredibly strong bond and he has helped her through her hardest days. The vibrant 7-year-old fills her in on how much he loves school and makes her laugh so much she cries.
Although all we hear about in the world today is hate and pain, know that in the small town of Jackson, Tennessee, sitting on the porch, Caleb and Nana chose love. Age doesn’t matter, gender doesn’t matter, race doesn’t matter, they chose to love each other despite what everyone else is doing around them.