I have often heard the phrase, “It takes a village.” Usually, people are referring to raising children, but the same is true for people in all walks of life. We should always be looking out for one another and be willing to lend a hand.
It seems like these days most people don’t know their neighbors and won’t go out of their way to help them out, but as one Tennessee woman recently found, that’s not the case everywhere. Some people still know what being a “neighbor” is all about.
Darrien Middleton and her nana, Wilma, have always shared a close bond and it has grown even stronger as they have gotten older. Darrien says the two of them are “attached at the hip.”
Two years ago, Wilma was diagnosed with lung cancer. She underwent surgery to have part of her lung removed. Then, six months later, she learned she had breast cancer.
“Two separate cancers less than a year apart, it has been an extremely long two years to say the least,” Darrien said. “Thankfully, she is still fighting today.”
Darrien has tried for years to get Wilma to move in with her so she can keep an eye on her health, but Wilma doesn’t want to leave her home of 38 years.
“It is the one thing that has remained constant,” Darrien said. “She loves her home, her independence, her yard, and especially her neighbors. Every morning around 6 am, she wakes up, makes a cup of coffee, and goes directly to her porch.”
Darrien tries to check on her nana as often as she can, but her tricky work schedule and the demands of everyday life make that difficult.
Thankfully, Wilma hasn’t been left alone.
When Darrien came to visit her nana one day, she noticed a young boy sitting on the porch. He told her his name was Caleb and he was seven years old. He had recently moved in with his own grandmother, who lives next door to Wilma.
Darrien soon learned that Caleb had been visiting her grandmother four to five times every day. When she asked him why, his answer left her in tears:
He told her he was checking on Wilma to make sure she was waking up from all her naps.
“He doesn’t come from much, but you can tell he has been raised on love,” Darrien said. “He will bust out a dance move in a heartbeat, will go on and on about how much he loves school, and make you laugh until you cry…
“He stands out from the norm and brings so much joy into everyone’s life he is around. I am so thankful for him and the love he has shown my grandmother. I know for certain it has helped her on her hardest days. He will never know how much I truly appreciate him. I hope one day he realizes the impact he has left on her life and mine as well.”
This young man is a shining example of how we all should be. His selflessness and his love have gone on to inspire thousands who have heard Darrien’s story.
As for Darrien, she is happy that Caleb and the rest of her grandmother’s neighbors are getting the recognition they deserve.
“Most people in our town wouldn’t have the best things to say about the neighborhood Nana lives in, but that is what is so awesome about this story,” she said. “I want to shed some light in this dark world we are living in.”
Darrien hopes their story will go on to inspire many others to show the same kind of love, kindness, and concern for their fellow man.
“Nana starts back up with 30 rounds of radiation here in the next few weeks,” she wrote. “Please say a prayer for her.
“Along with that prayer, I hope this story touches everyone it reaches. Although all we hear about in the world today is hate and pain, know that in the small town of Jackson, Tennessee, sitting on the porch, Caleb and Nana chose love. Age doesn’t matter, gender doesn’t matter, race doesn’t matter, they chose to love each other despite what everyone else is doing around them.”
Were you touched by Caleb and Wilma’s sweet friendship? Then share it!