When Steve had to leave his mother, Debby, in a nursing home due to his hectic work schedule, he worried she would feel lonely. To Steve’s surprise, Debby found love in one of the most unexpected places.
During her final year of accounting studies in college, Debby met Steve’s father, Jack. Jack was an engineer, and they immediately fell for each other. Within two years, Jack and Debby married, and Debby fell pregnant with Steve.
Unfortunately, shortly after Steve’s first birthday, Jack was diagnosed with cancer and passed away soon afterward. Debby decided that she would dedicate her life to raising Steve. “Through thick and thin, we’ll always have each other,” Debby told Steve.
She focused all of her energy on her work and her son. She became a well-respected chartered accountant and earned the respect of her peer’s thanks to her ability to balance work and family. Steve wanted to emulate his mother’s incredible work ethic and studied extra hard at school.
He would eventually graduate top of his class, earn a business degree and begin working as an executive. When Debby fell ill, Steve tried his hardest to care for his mother. As much as he could, he would work from home, conduct meetings via conference calls, and do most of his correspondence via e-mails.
“I’m delighted that she found you, Herbert. I was all the way in England, worried sick for my mom.”
Soon, Debby became bedridden after an infection began to affect her legs. Steve became increasingly successful at work, and he needed to travel more. He was left with a difficult choice.
“Listen, mom. I would never abandon you, and I’ve tried to be there for you the same way you were always there for me. But I’m going to need to be out of town regularly. Would you forgive me if I placed you in a nursing home?” Steve asked.
“Of course, my son,” Debby replied, “I see how hard you work and how much you try to take care of me. But it’s time for you to focus on yourself a bit more. You don’t need my forgiveness for getting me the best treatment.”
Steve ensured that Debby was placed in the best nursing home that money could buy. The doctors assured Steve that Debby would be well taken care of and receive the best treatment. Still, Steve worried that his mother would grow bored and lonely in her senior years.
As Steve was required to take more frequent business trips, he and his mother agreed that he would visit every time he was available. Steve began to move up in the world and was asked by his company to move to Europe for six months to oversee business abroad.
At first, he was hesitant and fearful that he would lose his mother while away.
“Steve, my son. How many times have I told you? Through thick and thin….” Debby said to Steve.
“We’ll always have each other,” he replied.
Steve remained the thoughtful son that he had always been. He made sure to call his mother every day to see what they were up to at the nursing home and how she was feeling. At first, Debby seemed down and tired during every phone, but much to Steve’s delight, she began to sound more chipper over time.
“You know, I really think that I’m gonna be okay over here. I’ve made some new friends, and they’re the loveliest people in the world, apart from you. I can’t wait for you to meet them all,” Debby told him. Steve was happy to hear that Debby was settling in well. It gave him peace of mind for his half-year stay in Europe.
He worked extremely hard and often sent special deliveries to Debby’s nursing home with gifts and food for everyone. Steve returned home from Europe in the late evening and decided to see Debby first thing in the morning.
“Forget Europe! When did you start walking again?”
He ordered some pizza and watched the football game while sorting through all the mail accumulated during his time away. All his bills were paid in advance, so the only new mail was newsletters, magazines, and a surprise piece of mail from his mother.
That’s odd, he thought to himself. He wasn’t sure why his mother would send him a letter knowing that he was in Europe and could call anytime. When he opened the letter, his jaw dropped to the floor.
“You are cordially invited to Debby and Herbert’s wedding on February 14,” the invitation read.
Steve was stunned. Debby hadn’t mentioned that she had fallen in love. She had only said she was making great friends in the nursing home. That night, Steve could hardly sleep. He had so many questions that he just wanted the morning to finally arrive so he could ask Debby what was happening.
The following day, Steve got ready as soon as possible and headed straight for the nursing home. When he arrived, he was about to grab one of the wheelchairs to help Debby move around.
“Oh, you won’t need that today, Steve,” a nurse told him.
Confused, Steve replied, “Okay, I guess. What’s going on?”
“Oh, she didn’t tell you? Boy, you are in for a huge surprise,” the nurse replied.
When Steve went over to Debby’s wing of the nursing home, he was overjoyed to see Debby walking gingerly towards him without a walking stick or crutches.
“Steve, my boy. You’re back! It’s so good to see you. How was Europe? Is business going well?” Debby asked.
“Forget Europe! When did you start walking again? And who on earth is Herbert?!” Steve exclaimed.
“Let’s go and have breakfast, and I’ll tell you everything. Meet me there. I just need to go to my room for a bit,” Debby replied.
Steve agreed and headed over to the canteen. He got himself some coffee and a couple of muffins while he waited anxiously. When Debby came, she was walking hand in hand with an elderly man. They seemed like a young teenage couple as they walked over, giggling at each other’s every word.
“Pleased to meet you, Herbert. I hope you don’t mind, but I have a lot of questions,” Steve said as he shook Herbert’s hand.
“Not a problem, Steve. Debby kept a few surprises for you, but I’ll answer all of your questions. Where should I start?” Herbert asked.
“Tell me everything,” Steve replied.
Steve rushed over to grab two cups of tea for Debby and Herbert before returning to their table.
“Well, when Debby joined us here at the nursing home, she wasn’t socializing with all of us and would often sit alone in the corner. I became curious, so I went over to introduce myself. At first, I thought she didn’t like me, but I was determined to learn more about the mysterious Debby,” Herbert started.
Steve could tell that Herbert was a sociable, happy-go-lucky type of guy and liked him straight away.
Herbert glanced into Debby’s eyes before continuing, “I got her talking about you. I could see how her eyes lit up while talking about her son, and it reminded me of how I feel about my daughter, Julia. Debby and I began spending all of our time together and started feeling much better. I helped her out of her wheelchair and helped to start walking again. Since hanging out together, I’ve felt like I can breathe properly again.”
Steve couldn’t help but smile throughout the story. It was as though a weight had been lifted for him. Steve had been worried that Debby might’ve seen him as a bad son for choosing to go abroad and do business rather than tending to her needs.
But it was clear that the nursing home had allowed her to spend time with people her age who could relate to her problems. Debby even managed to find love in the strangest place.
“I’m delighted that she found you, Herbert. I was all the way in England and Scotland, worried sick for my mom. I could hear that she was starting to sound a lot more upbeat, but she didn’t tell me why,” Steve replied.
As it turned out, when Debby was first admitted to the nursing home, doctors were unsure if she would ever walk again. Her love for Herbert gave her the strength and belief that she needed to keep on trying. When Herbert first professed his love to Debby, he promised her they would walk through the gardens and spend time by the pond. When this goal finally came true, Herbert proposed to Debby by the pond, and she said yes.
“I figured you only get one life, and we only have a bit left. Why wait? I knew that what I was feeling couldn’t be ignored, so I took a shot and asked her to marry me,” Herbert said.
“I remember thinking to myself, this is crazy. But it’s also crazy that I’m walking again. And it’s also crazy that I feel so smitten with someone I met in a nursing home. So I took the shot with him,” Debby said.
“Well, for what it’s worth, Herbert, you have my blessing. Now how does this work? Am I gonna be a ring-bearer, best man, or maid-of-honor?” Steve joked.
“How about you walk me down the aisle and make sure I don’t topple over?” Debby bantered.
The three finished breakfast and began preparations. Steve decided to make the event as lavish as possible. He wanted to treat his mother to a special day because he had missed many while away on business.
Steve tracked down Debby’s old colleagues from her accounting firm and Herbert’s old clients from his practice and invited them all to the wedding.
Steve struggled to hold back tears on the wedding day as he walked his mother down the aisle. They had only had each other for so many years, but now Debby had found love again. She hardly needed Steve’s hand for balance and almost glided to the altar.
Steve, who had been so focused on his mother and business that he hadn’t dated much, looked at his mother and Herbert saying their I-dos and made a realization.
t’s never too late to try.
What can we learn from this story?
Love is more powerful than we know. The doctors didn’t that Debby would be able to walk again, but it seemed that love gave her the extra strength she needed to get back on her feet.
People will always appreciate a loving heart. Steve was worried that his mother would think that he was a bad son because he put her in a nursing home, but she knew how much he loved her and never gave him slack for working hard at his job.
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