This Is My Dad, Sam Burke 739.4

Ann’s father, Sam Burke, was in the last stages of cancer, and his needs had gone beyond what she could provide at home. She was distraught at the thought of placing him in a convalescent home.

The check-in process confirmed her worst fears. Administrators, nurses, and doctors who seemed bothered, bored, or burned out quickly transformed Sam Burke into just another patient.

Driving home with tears in her eyes, she remembered when she told her dad that she hated her dorm during her first year of college. “Never accept the unacceptable,” he had told her. “There’s nothing you can’t make better if you put your mind to it.”

Determined to make his last days better, Ann got the names of every person at the convalescent home who might work with her father and delivered a personally addressed envelope to each of them. It contained a note and pictures of her dad getting married, posing with his children, and in military uniform.

The note said, “This is my dad, Sam Burke. A good and proud man who fought for his country and worked hard for his family. I know you will treat him with kindness and dignity. I am very grateful.”

During her next few visits, she made sure to introduce her father to everyone: “This is my dad, Sam Burke.” Soon, the looks of suspicion disappeared, and the staff returned her smiles and personally greeted Sam. Each time they did, Sam squeezed Ann’s hand.

When he died months later, Ann received a card signed by the entire staff: “Thanks for entrusting us with your dad, Sam, and for reminding us why we do what we do. He must have been a great father, because you sure are a great daughter.”

This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.

Comments 6

  1. I realize this is a repeat. Shortly after reading it the second time my 98 ear old aunt, a WWI, Korea and VietNam veteran RN went in to the hospital for an extended stay. They had a white boared for comments and I wrote about her service to our country and her pride about being a nurse, and asking them to show her the same care and compassion she had shown her patients. I had many staff comment on her and on Veterans Day they decorated her room with small flags and fed her her favorite meal. She was so proud. Regretably she since passed away, but your post gave me the idea.
    I’m very sorry to hear the radio commentary is ending. I find your posts to be very inspirational and really hope you will continue them in some form.

  2. Time and change catch up with all of us. I will miss your program on the radio, and so will my church board which has been inspired often to better decisions by your commentary. At the very least, continue to have your past material available online. Blessings on whatever comes next.

  3. I am so very sad to hear your program is ending on the radio. I am not even sure how I got on your email list, but I have so appreciated your comments showing up in my inbox. I was telling some friends about this commentary yesterday, and went to show it to them online – and I saw it was ending!! I do hope you can keep publishing in some form. As I was telling my friends, you are someone who is TRULY making a difference, because all sorts of people listen to you. You are not just one more liberal or conservative preaching to the your “side” and building up resentment against the “Other”. Rather, you appeal to people’s best impulses – across lines of class, nationality, and religion. I want you know to know how much I admire you. You are an example of the best our country has to offer. Keep up your good work, in whatever form seems best. Good luck to you and your family.

  4. Thank you for your wonderful and insightful commentaries. I am touched whenever I hear them on the way to work and this one was particularly meaningful to me since I work in healthcare. I hope you will consider an alternate means of continuing your truly inspiring work.

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