(February 22, 2021) Some of us wake up rejoicing for the day the Lord has made, such as Gene McGehee, an elderly man with severe dementia. He’s been able to find joy on a daily basis right across the street from his home. And most astonishingly, he never remembers the experience a day later.
91-year-old Gene McGehee lives in Vidalia, Louisiana. Across the way is a daycare where a fun bunch of kids spend their time. And what a blessing for him, the kids bring fun into his life also.
“Every day I cross the street and we meet again,” said the daycare teacher, Megan Nunez.
They have met one another every day for three years to date.
His memory struggles go so far as to cause him difficulties recognizing even himself in pictures. When shown pictures of himself by his daughter, he sees someone else. A stranger.
In addition to his struggle with dementia, Gene also suffers from loneliness, his daughter Cathy shared.
What has helped this man with dementia has been those daycare children.
“Oh my goodness! They have been such a blessing to Daddy. And he lights up!” Cathy said with great enthusiasm.
Every day the kids are at the daycare, Gene gets to spend around an hour with the kiddos, exchanging words, laughs, and hugs.
“Everybody responds to love,” Cathy added about her father who forgets the children, but has developed a constant idea that being outside of his home is bound to bring some joyful experience.
He doesn’t know what, but knows something will happen. His mind, though unable to remember exactly what happened the day before, still retains some feeling of the fun he had.
That is love, according to Cathy.
However sad his dementia has proven, there’s beauty that Gene has been able to find in his time with the children, maybe even beauty that the rest of us miss out on for taking such moments of joy for granted.
His time with the children is extra special because the man with dementia enjoys those moments each day as if it were his first encounter with them.
Jesus told us life is like a mist. What if we thoroughly felt joy for even the smallest moments of life: the hours we see family, the hours we spend at church. We are blessed indeed, more than we will ever know.
By Aaron Brown on February 1, 2021, in Inspirational Stories