For the Veterans at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center Memorial Day is not a holiday for sales or a trip to the shore. It is a time to reflect on past service and lost friends. It is a time for family members to visit and listen to stories from “the good old days!”
Wondering the halls of the VA I encounter many family members as they visit their loved ones. Many are regulars so they are used to seeing a therapy dog on the hospital grounds. But for the newly admitted patients and their family members it is definitely a head turner to see a dog in their vicinity. If they are an animal lover, a big smile will appear on their face.
This past week I learned of a passing of one of our regulars Maggie and I had visited for quite a number of years. Although somewhat of a shock we had not seen him in some time as he had fulfilled his wish and was discharged and spent his remaining time in the comfort of his home.
I view the VA hospital as a small city. Each room can be seen as an apartment or a condo so everyone has the opportunity to get to know one another. I’m sure when the residents see one of their neighbors being discharged they are happy for them. But when the news of their untimely death reaches them, this must be a blow. The next question that enters their minds must be when is it my turn?
My hope is that by bringing Maggie in for a visit I am able to distract them and even give them a little happiness now and again.
To all the Veterans- Thank you for your service!