14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again. And Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth clung to her. 15 And [Naomi] said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” 16 But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. 17 Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” 18 And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more. Ruth 1: 14 – 18 ESV
Ruth could have returned to her family since her husband had passed away. Instead, she devoted herself to her mother-in-law, Naomi. One could call Ruth a “caregiver” because, although Naomi was not elderly or disabled at the time, Ruth was the one who worked in the fields to provide for them. The love and companionship between these women that grew from Ruth choosing to stick by Naomi’s side is deep and inspiring.
My mom, Janet Zuber, also acted as a caregiver to my grandmother, Omie. Omie was not her blood mother, but Janet treated her like she was. Janet drove her to countless doctors’ appointments, stayed with her in the emergency room during Omie’s many visits, and found little ways to make Omie’s last few years of life more enjoyable, like taking her to Long John Silver’s for lunch. Through these emotionally and physically exhausting times, they developed a love for each other and companionship that reminds me of Ruth and Naomi.
I was so impressed with my mom’s sacrificial service towards Omie that I wrote a story about it called The Unexpected Blessing. In March 2012 it was published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Family Caregivers (story #79 on page 346).
Have you ever thought of who will care for you, visit you, or call you when you are elderly or disabled? Have you contemplated how much little things will mean to you, like a handwritten letter, receiving flowers, or having surprise visitors?
Perhaps we can all think of an elderly or disabled person in our family, church, or neighborhood who we can spoil. Or maybe there is someone who needs consistent assistance and we happen to have some free time on our hands. Who comes to your mind?