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!!