Living for the Moments…99 Years in the Making

By Vickie S. Watson, Community Relations Specialist

One of my responsibilities for Shepherd’s Cove Hospice is to manage our social media.  When I arrived at work on Monday morning, I had a notification where Shepherd’s Cove Hospice had been tagged in a Facebook post of a precious lady who had celebrated her 99th birthday with her family in Shepherd’s Cove over the weekend.

I looked at that photo with a smile, beaming from ear to ear, knowing this family had an opportunity to share in this momentous occasion, here in our inpatient facility.  I often say we are leaving fingerprints on the hearts and lives of the patients and families we serve.  Sometimes, however, I fail to mention how much they leave a fingerprint on our hearts and lives as well.

After reviewing the photo (below) of this sweet lady in her birthday tiara, accompanied by her beautiful family and an exquisite birthday cake, I began making some inquiries. Did any of our staff attend?  Did anyone else have photos?  Then I began to contemplate the event … I wonder what kind of stories the family might share about someone who is 99 years “young.”… I wonder… I just wonder.…

After communication with some of our staff, one of the unit secretaries in Shepherd’s Cove, Ellen Allison, called to let me know she was friends with the family.  So, I began asking Ellen a slew of questions. Were you at the party? Did you take any pictures? And more importantly, do you think the family would be willing to meet with me and share their story?

Ellen became the bridge-builder for a chat with the family that made my heart smile.  This kind and gracious family allowed me to enter into an intimate moment of time with their mother, in her room in Shepherd’s Cove, to share about moments in the life of this amazing 99-year-old lady.

Nelda Pounds, who hails from Joppa, Alabama, is a strong, independent lady.  She had grown up in a large family and learned, at an early age, about picking cotton with her father.  I would venture to say that is where she contrived her favorite quote, “Hard work never killed anyone.”  This quote seemed to be her mantra throughout her life.  It appears she was never afraid of hard work, from picking cotton to chopping wood.

Pounds loves sewing her own clothes, quilting, crocheting, “talking politics,” and gardening.  I also understand she was quite the dancer, back in her younger days, and could wipe up the dancefloor with those arms and legs swinging to the Charleston.  Pounds is also a great lover of bluegrass music.  I understand she and her dearly departed husband spent many hours at bluegrass festivals soaking up every drop they could of the music that put a song in their heart and a tap in their feet.

Pounds is also a lover of people and loves making new friends.  She was recently overheard having a conversation with a new resident at the assisted living facility where she resided.  Somehow the subject had turned to the topic of men.  Pounds, 98 years old at the time, said, “I’m through with men!”  This brought on roars of laughter from her family, especially since Pounds had been happily married for 67+ years before her husband passed away in 2002.  It seems to me Nelda Pounds has lived quite a full life in her 99 years.  Each of these precious moments and amazing stories has created quite a legacy for her children, grandchildren and generations to come.  I, for one, am happy to have had a tiny glimpse into her moments.

Pictured, left to right: Steve Pounds, Susan Pounds, Bonnie Phillips, Martha Pounds, Jessicah Pounds, Joel Pounds, and front and center, our birthday girl, Nelda Pounds.
Pictured, left to right: Steve Pounds, Susan Pounds, Bonnie Phillips, Martha Pounds, Jessicah Pounds, Joel Pounds, and front and center, our birthday girl, Nelda Pounds.