COLUMN: Pondering the ‘ah’ moments of life

Published 7:30 am Saturday, July 6, 2024

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This week, I’ve been thinking about “ah” moments. You know, the sudden, usually sweet moments that catch you by surprise, and the first sound out of your mouth is not a word but a feeling expressed by the sound “ah or aw.”

Vickie Wacaster, Patient and Hospice Advocate with Aveanna Hospice (formerly Comfort Care Hospice)

There can be so many beautiful “ah” moments in our ordinary and routine days that if we took a count, I venture to say we might all be amazed.

To watch the beauty of a sunrise or sunset is an “ah” moment.  To feel a breeze on a hot summer day is an “ah” moment.  A baby’s giggly, sugary, wet smile is an “ah” moment.  To see two people in love holding hands and talking as if there is no one else in the world is an “ah” moment.  Having your children or grandchildren kiss you for no reason other than being glad to see you and glad you are in their lives is an “ah” moment.

“Ah” moments can come at the most unexpected times and times we would not ordinarily consider an ah moment.  For example, several years ago, I was with one of our nurses at the home of a patient who was being admitted to hospice care.  As the oxygen, hospital bed, medicine, etc., was being set up, one of his friends asked me to come outside so he could speak with me.

With a very concerned and worried look in his eyes and a trembling voice, he asked me, “How much are they going to owe for all of this?”  My answer was, “They will not owe anything.”  As I explained the hospice philosophy and benefits to him, he shook his head and said, “I had no idea hospice did all this; what a blessing.”    As we walked back to the house, I remember my “ah” as he reached out to hug me and express his gratitude for our agency. Indeed, no thanks were needed or expected, as we feel we are doing what God would have us to do now.  Hospice is more than a job to us – it is our ministry.

By the way, as I type this, I remember another “ah” moment when I visited a hospice patient who had been placed in a nursing home.  As I walked into his room and up to his bed, he looked up at me and said, “Girl, where have you been? It’s about time you came to see me again.  I thought you must have forgotten about me.”  As I leaned down to hug him, I remember saying, “Ah, you know there is no way I could ever forget about you.”

We had a sweet and special visit, and I promised to see him again soon.  As I drove back to the office, I remember thinking about how much we meant to this endearing gentleman and how it touched my heart that he was so happy about our visit.  Our visit had truly been an “ah” moment for me.  Though his situation was sad, we knew we were one of the positives in his life, and it was no coincidence that he had become a part of ours.

Like most interjections, the sound “ah” or “aw” can be made stronger by stretching it out, such as “aaaaah” or “awwww.”   May your life be filled with many happy “aaaaah” moments.

— Vickie C. Wacaster is a Patient and Hospice Advocate for Aveanna Hospice.