Pink Shoe Laces

Here’s a little story I am going to tell –  it might get long so bear with me.

When our daughter Kalissa was 16 she started taking CNA classes hoping to work at an area nursing home.  She thought she might be interested in a medical career and becoming a CNA she felt was a good way to try it out figuring if she could handle the things a CNA has to deal with it might give her some insight on whether or not she could be a nurse.

After working for a while she found back problems and feet problems were something she’d have to figure out so we bought her a pair of Nike tennis shoes.  She insisted that she wanted pink shoe laces to wear in them so we got them too.

She was a little frustrated as many of the residents couldn’t distinguish between the CNA’s as they all had the same uniform and most are high school students only working a couple days a week.  She wanted to make a connection with the residents.  She noticed that many residents stoop and often are looking at the floor so she began to distinguish herself by calling herself “Pink Shoe Laces”.

As she worked she found that more and more residents would talk to her with concerns because they could distinguish her by those pink shoe laces.  She also found that at times when residents were combative she could say, “Wait, remember I am your friend.  I’m pink shoe laces-see?”  Residents even found it calming.

About that time a new resident came to the nursing home.  Someone who Kalissa immediately became attached to.  The gentleman had little family except for “church family”.  He was kind and considerate and treated Kalissa just like a grandpa would treat his grand daughter.  They became very close.  Kalissa would make boyfriends go meet him.  He would razz the boyfriends.  She would go visit him with her prom dress on and get pictures taken with him.  For her 18th birthday she got a cake for herself, had a meeting room at the nursing home set aside, and bought pizza having a party with this gentleman and a couple other residents she was close to.  She truly loved him.

Fast forward to fall 2013, Kalissa was moving on to college and knew she had to change jobs and work at a nursing home closer to college.  The gentleman was upset saying that he didn’t think he would see Kalissa again.  Kalissa promised him that no-that wouldn’t be true.  She would come visit him…and she did.

In the beginning of 2014 his health deteriorated.  Kalissa visited him more.  Then one weekend she was on her way through town and stopped and she knew that it was just a matter of time for this man who had become a grandpa to her.   So all through the weekend Kalissa would stop early in the morning going out of her way to get to the nursing home before her shift at a different facility and stop again on her way home after the shift.  After three days she knew it was just a matter of hours so she stayed.  He had no family.  She didn’t want him to die alone.  She stayed.  She did decide to call his local pastor and she came and sat vigil with Kalissa until he passed.  Kalissa continued to stay until the funeral home came and took his body away.  She didn’t want the man she loved to be alone.

As a mom I was worried that this might be the blow that took her away from wanting to be a nurse.  It was was hard for her and bit of a struggle- but she went back to work.

Kalissa was just heart broken as he had requested no funeral-no service.  Then a couple weeks ago Kalissa got a call from the pastor of his church.  Even though there was no funeral the congregation decided to have a church service on a regular Sunday and have it in his honor.  Kalissa went…and dragged that boyfriend along.  Kalissa had never been to that church.  She just knew that the members there had been so good to him.   Everyone at the church was wonderful to her even though they didn’t know her.  At the service a couple different congregation members came up to Kalissa and said…”So you are pink shoelaces.  He talked about you often.”

Kalissa was so touched and amazed how her pink shoe laces led her to a relationship with a man that she will never forget.

Sometime as a parent, I can’t help but wonder what is the future for my kids..what career path will they take-is she even in the right career.  I don’t wonder that anymore with Kalissa.  I think she’s doing great right where she’s at and will make a wonderful nurse…so here’s to you Pink Shoe Laces!!

26 thoughts on “Pink Shoe Laces

  1. Tina in NJ

    Your story brought tears to my eyes. My mom is 81 and still a nurse, although she hasn’t worked in years. It’s a calling. So nice to hear of a young person who has actually heard the call and did something about it. Kalissa is a credit to that calling and to her parents. But you already knew that. She should always wear pink shoe laces to work, even when she’s the head nurse of the hospital.

    Reply
  2. Marilyn R

    What a great daughter you have raised……she will be an amazing nurse. Good Luck in
    everything you do Pink Shoelaces, with the caring you showed to this gentleman there is
    nothing you can’t do. Be Proud to have touched someone’s life in such a way and never
    forget your pink shoelaces.

    Reply
  3. Cindy F

    Such a touching story and what a special daughter you have. Both of my parents are in memory care in another state so it lifts my spirits to know there are people like your daughter. It sounds like she truly has a gift for working with the elderly. I too hope she always wears pink shoe laces.

    Reply
  4. George Bushlack

    What a blessing she has been, is, and will be to many of the elderly. The story touched my heart Jeanne, you have every right to be a proud mom. You and Roger have done a wonderful job with your kids, teaching them the important things in life. Thanks for sharing the story of pink shoelaces.

    Reply
  5. Barbara

    That was a sweet story about a very sweet girl, it brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing, and raising such a wonderful daughter.

    Reply
  6. Louise

    Reading this brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful daughter you have! And this story also says a lot about you as parents! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  7. Joanne

    What a beautiful story. I have tears in my eyes. Felt compelled to comment. God bless Kalissa and that gentleman as well. We never know how we impact others…for better or worse. She has a gift for sure.

    Reply
  8. Mary Jo

    What a wonderful daughter. My daughter is an RN and everyone I meet who has been her patient tells me what a wonderful nurse she is. Sounds like you will be getting those same compliments soon! You’ve done a great job raising such a sweet girl.

    Reply
  9. Flo

    Thank you Kalissa for being such a loving, caring and compassionate care giver to your patients. You and your husband should be very proud of her and your parenting skills.

    Reply
  10. Julie

    I met this young girl on a snowy day on highway 63. I am truly blessed to have met her. She is a beautiful person. What a wonderful story Jo. Thanks for sharing.
    Julie

    Reply
  11. Debbie B

    What a lovely story about a beautiful daughter and her journey of life touching the lives of others all around her. And she has just begun. Awesome! It’s a tribute to her, but also to you, Jo, and your hubby in raising such great kids. Congrats!

    Reply
  12. Ranch Wife

    What a lovely post. Sometimes it’s the smallest gesture that make the biggest impact. My hat’s off to Kalissa…and to you for raising such a thoughtful girl.

    Reply
  13. Lorraine

    What a blessing she was to that special “Grandpa”! Congratulations for raising such kind and thoughtful children.

    Reply
  14. Emily

    Jo, you are blessed. Today, a lot of us lost a man we have prayed about for a long time. He and his family made a very memorable impact on us. I am thankful for people like you and your daughter. Life is about relationships, no matter if they are good or bad. I am thankful there are people like you and your daughter who are here on this earth who make a positive impact on others.
    Take care.
    Emily

    Reply
  15. Lisa Mikel

    What a touching story! Kalissa will be a wonderful nurse and when she graduates from nursing school her “grandpa” will be smiling down from heaven at her.

    Reply

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