A Wonderful Life

        I don’t know about y’all but I’m a sap for old Jimmy Stewart movies, especially ‘A Wonderful Life.’  As you get on towards the last leg of your journey on earth, there are times when you wonder how much difference you made.  For me, I wasn’t smart enought to figure out a cure for cancer, and I sure didn’t get rich or famous.  I pulled a few out of the fire along the way, and had a heck of a lot of fun with my music, but there are thousands of others who have toiled away at their daily routine, and many got a whole less credit than I did for it.

        Last night was one of those moments where things make sense, though.  We played music at one of the rest homes, and an aide stopped to speak to me.  She said she enjoyed the music, and I thanked her. 

         She went on to tell me I inspired her to study to get her degree and she became a nurse’s aide because of me.  It turned out I took care of her mother, who had a stroke years ago, and much difficulty swallowing afterwards.  As often is the case, the daughter was the only one who could get her to eat, and she fed her every day.  In the end, the patient aspirated one day, and died soon after from aspiration pneumonia.  One of the Docs (I remember the guy, he was a harsh rascal) came along and made the young woman feel guilty.

        I didn’t recall the precise moment, but she said I came by right after that, found her in tears, and heard out the story.  She said I patted her on the shoulder and told her mama would have never made it as long as she did if not for her feeding her every day.  (Which I am sure was true.)

        This was not a highly educated woman, or even one who was extremely bright, but she said it inspired her to go on.  Apparently she wanted to be a nurse’s aide and felt like she had a knack for it, but the first Doc made her feel like she wasn’t worthy.  I changed her mind.  That simple act, long forgotten by me, made her think again.

        She went on to proudly tell me she was the best one at the rest home, and when no one else could get a patient to eat, she was the one they called on.

        I patted her on the shoulder.  “I tell you what kid, I’m getting toward old.  I hope when I get here, you’ll be the one to take care of me.”

        “I will, Dr. Bibey.  You can count on it.”

         I figure that woman has had a wonderful life.  When you get down to the science of it, she has saved more lives than I have, and no one will ever hear of her, except on this little blog.

        Like I say, I’m an old sap, but I still think Jimmy Stewart had a few things to say we don’t need to forget.

Dr. B



Explore posts in the same categories: Advice- Five Cents

8 Comments on “A Wonderful Life”

  1. pandemonic Says:

    What a great story! I’m not sure anyone will be saying the same about me, but I hope so.

    Last year, I found a college professor who had greatly influenced me back in the 1970s when I had taken his class. I wrote him a short email saying so, and thanking him for being so positive with me and my writing. This was about the time I started working on my novel. He actually wrote back and said he remembered me! and that he was glad to hear from me. This was 30 years ago.

    If you have the love, you should spread it. That’s what life is all about.

  2. drtombibey Says:

    We all draw off each other, huh Ms. Pande? When folks like you who have experience as a writer read what I write, it encourages me. I get inspired to go on.

    And bless you for remembering your professor. When people get older, they are often forgotten in our crazy modern world.

    Dr. B

  3. Bibey Jr. Says:

    That’s what the good life is made of; isn’t it? So, who was more inspired, more impacted by a simple act of loving-kindness?

    Love you more than sunshine,
    Baby Bibey

  4. drtombibey Says:

    They say the best young’uns are those who learn what makes adults tick at an early age. Bibey Jr. was always that way.

    The only down side is they then also have the burden of being one of the responsible adults in a mad world. ( I still say it beats the alternative)

    A great kid there if I say so myself, that Baby Bibey Jr. is.

    Hm, I reckon the most inspired ones in that story were the old folks who got to eat supper!

    Dr. B

  5. mrschili Says:

    I treasure stuff like this (and I know you do, too). We never know what kind of impact we can have on people, and my greatest hope is that I inspire a few along the way to be or do the best that they can. We almost never hear back from those whose lives we touch – sometimes, we have to go on faith. It’s awfully gratifying when we get someone to come back and tell us about how our love changed them. More often than not, all it takes is a little bit of love.

  6. drtombibey Says:


    I am sure you have inspired many. Maybe some of ’em will do like Pande and drop you a line- they are out there I assure you. Truly if it had not been for my high school Chemistry teacher I would have ended up a bum. (I have thanked him more than a few times.)

    Baby Bibey would have starved to death, and might not have been inspired to be the fine student she is.

    I might have been a better mandolin player, but I would not have been as good as Darrell. (Again, I would have starved to death- man is he good.) Genius though he is, even he can only do so much about my vocals- yuk!

    Thank goodness for that teacher. Tis a wonderful life.

    Dr. B

  7. whodoesshethinksheisanyway Says:

    When I train crisis intervention, I tell my students that they best chose their words carefully because someone, especially the little people, are always watching. My two year old niece taught me that. You never can tell when something you say or do is going to impact someone else. We are all role models. I also tell them that they are either going to contribute or contaminate to their part of the world. I try to start each day with the intent to make a contribution to my world.

  8. drtombibey Says:

    Ain’t it the truth?

    We have med students come through on a community medicine rotation every so often. They are all smart, but some have not learned all they need to know about treating people with respect.

    I tell them no matter how lowly someone might appear to be, you should treat them with dignity, and be mindful of the words you choose.

    My experience had been that even the worst “bum” found in a ditch will have someone out there who loves them. When their people show up they will demand at least that much courtesy for their loved one. (As they should.)

    Dr. B

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