Ino prepares a Christmas feast for her successful, CEO son, but when he’s too busy to spend the holiday with his mother she shares her dinner and gifts with her home health aid. Sometimes the people who love us best are not family.
When I asked about short stories, I was given this one by Marianne Sciucco to read. Thanks to having interviewed her Here, I had a sneaking hunch what I was getting in for. Little did I know just how much it would resonate with many of my own patients during my time as a home health aide.
Though the story is only about a single day, it is a day well worth remembering, and has a very happy (and surprising) ending. From the time Marianne enters the home until the time she leaves for the night, the story covers a full range of emotions: joy, sorrow, anger, irritation, and contentment.
There is no need for world building, so Marianne deftly sets up the setting with a few quick sketches, and focuses on what is important – the people. Specifically, Ino. The wonderful lady who stars in this piece is shown in depth, even though we only get to meet her for a day. And, once you get to meet her, you are introduced to many through her, because she is almost an archetypal home care patient – kind, considerate, and grateful that someone comes to see them regularly.
The pace of the story presents the same tension most home health aids face – check in, get your work done, catch the little errands that get forgotten until you remind the patient, and get out before your allotted time is up. There is a distinct change in the pacing once the story moves beyond the scheduled work onto the personal clock of the care giver. This not only brought a wistful smile to my face, but had me nodding along to the remainder of the story.
For those who have worked in the home health field, this short story will probably make you smile and laugh while you cringe at what happens along the way. For everyone else, I would think the emotional flavor would be a little different. Even though details have been changed to protect the patient’s this story is modeled on, what emerges is something that I think everyone should learn about. Well done Marianne! A solid five out of five on this one, and one I’ll enjoy coming back to from time to time. (And, if this isn’t part of a full disclosure primer for home health companies to show prospective employees how important they are – it should be!)
If you wold like to read more of this wonderful story, you can get a copy on Amazon Here.
If you enjoyed the review, and wish me to review your own work, please stop by my Offered Services page, and send me a submission. Almost all genres accepted, though science fiction and fantasy are given preference. (Erotica and really steamy romance will be declined.)