As some of you may know, my daughter, H (she of the 10k runs) is a midwife who works in a large teaching hospital in London. Alongside her, is a volunteer called Sally, a retired midwife from the USA. Sally is now resident in Britain and attends the Birthing Centre every Thursday, in spite of being 85 years of age. H has talked of Sally before, saying how much positivity she brings to the department.
Over time, H has not only come to respect Sally as a colleague but has built up a firm friendship with her, as indeed have the other staff. Sally is there with practical help, mugs of tea, an ear or a shoulder and epitomises the term: ‘salt of the earth’.
Yesterday, part way through H’s usual twelve-and-a-half hour shift, Sally went home. Just before she left, H admired her earrings. With no hesitation, Sally removed them, grabbed hold of H’s hand and placed them in her palm.
Sally told H she had bought the earrings in California 50 years ago. They had since travelled the world with her. Despite H’s protest that she couldn’t accept something of such sentimental value, Sally insisted, saying that it was now time for them to continue their journey in the possession of someone young enough to enjoy many adventures in the future.
H was overwhelmed and extremely humbled by this selfless gesture but more than the gift itself, it was the generosity of spirit behind it.
At a time of so much anger, bitterness, sadness and despair, it is truly heartwarming to know that there are indomitable people like Sally in this world. People who support, care and spread kindness to all those with whom they come in contact without thought of personal advancement, praise or recognition.
When they are not adorning her ears, the earrings will now live in the jewelry box H was given by her grandmother and they will indeed share her journey in the years ahead.
We could all learn a valuable lesson from Sally …