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The Della Reese Interview (Page 2 of 3)

An Interview with Della Reese

Della: Believe it or not, I have heard from all kinds of people. For an example, one day I was on a plane. I had a 6:00 a.m. call. I was on the 10:15 p.m. plane. I had been working all day long. I just wanted to take a nap so that I would be friendly to my husband when I landed in Los Angeles. That is all I wanted to do. This lady comes through. I was sitting in first class, but in the last seat before you go into coach. She saw me and said, “Oh, I want to thank you because your show saved my life.” As I said, I was not in the greatest mood in the world. She seemed to sense that. She said, “No, I am serious. Your show saved my life.” There was a line of people behind her trying to get on the plane. She did not even care. I said, “How did the show save your life?”

She said, “My husband was 26 years old. He just died. There was nothing wrong with him. There was no way for me to expect that he was going to die. I have two children. I did not know how to handle it myself, so I really did not know what to say to my children that their father was not there anymore. I do not know how I ended up in the living room, but when I did, the television was on. It was Touched by an Angel. It was a show about a man who was dying. He was happy. He so reminded me of my husband. His family was standing around the bed. They were happy and singing. Then an angel came and got him and took him. I just adjusted to it. I was able to speak to my children about it because I knew my husband was the kind of man that wherever he was, he was happy.”

Gary: That is beautiful. I believe that.

Della: I believed it, too. I believe there was no reason for her to stand there in that aisle with all those people grumbling behind her and lie.

Gary: You know, what I find consistently with family caregivers is that spirituality and religion, even if they were not religious or spiritual before, become a real keystone in their life. Every time they email me or I see them at conferences, maybe nine times out of 10, there is something about what they go through with an ill loved one that brings out the absolute best in them.

Della: Absolutely. You have to dig deep into yourself and stop being so concerned about yourself. To be a good caregiver, you have to give just that, give of yourself. You find that you are no longer so concerned with your little gripes and things. You are involved in making this person you are caring for more comfortable and happy. It is very good for you. I think it is a good thing.

Gary: So caregiving brings us back to being a community, wherever we happen to live.

Della: You know, all these machines have separated us. There was a time when it was the grandmother’s job to take care of the children. The mother took care of the grandmother. There was somebody there to care. When the grandmother got old enough, they took care of her in the house so that they were there with her, but we have separated everything. We got a computer, a television and all those things that isolate us from each other. We do not have that. This is the way to bring us back to the community.


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