We work hard to be able to support our families through good times and through bad. Anyone who has ever had a sick or ill loved one can attest to how hard it is to care for a family member 24/7.
Julie Bick, who lives in North Bend, Ohio, knows how difficult it can be to get by in cases like these.
Her father’s Alzheimer’s diagnosis came very shortly after her mother’s passing, and it led her to move herself and her two children into his home so she could give him the care he needs.
One of the toughest parts of Julie’s caretaking role is having to slowly remove things from her father that used to keep him happy and occupied.
He is no longer allowed take medications himself or even do chores out in the yard or around the house, and Julie had to take away the keys to his truck.
Julie knew that Alzheimer’s patients do well with regular, habitual routines, and removing a lot of the things her father could do made it difficult to form new routines.
Disrupting a regular routine can cause a patient in this situation to become emotional, angry, or upset.
Luckily, though, there is one routine that Julie’s father knows and always looks forward to, and Julie does everything she can to keep it going.
The routine involves an unexpected individual – a garbage man named Harold who has been collecting Julie’s father’s trash for several years now.
Harold is a well-respected part of the neighborhood community, and he’s fairly well-known for his kindness and compassion.
On trash collection days, if a household has forgotten to put the trash out, he comes up to knock on the door to ask if they have anything he needs to take out.
If no one is home when he collects trash, he’ll make sure to walk garbage cans right back to the garage of the owners, even though he doesn’t have to.
Harold has also made a habit of walking down Julie’s driveway every Monday to stop and chat with her father.
He knows that he has Alzheimer’s and also that the routine of the chat means a lot to Julie’s father, so he makes sure never to forget it. Julie’s father absolutely loves Harold and always looks forward to seeing him.
One of these Mondays, Julie was facing a particularly bad bout of depression and sadness and hiding out to cry on the front porch, since she didn’t want her father to see her like this and become upset, too.
She heard the garbage truck rumbling down the street and went to look for her father, and she found him looking for a chair in the garage.
Naturally, Julie offered to help him and asked why he needed it. Her father wanted the chair to be placed at the end of the driveway so that he could have a good chat with Harold.
Julie wasn’t too surprised by the notion, but then her father added that Harold is a good, religious man and that he wanted to take a quiet moment with Harold so they could both pray for Julie.
Julie felt tears bubbling again as she left the two men to talk. She knew that no matter what her father went through, his love for her was always at the forefront of his mind.
When she saw the image of her dad and Harold chatting next to the trash truck, she knew she had to take a photograph of the moment.
It might have only been a simple act of kindness, but Julie is endlessly grateful to Harold, who has continually touched her heart with his compassion.