Nearly every time a young woman went to visit her grandma, she noticed a neighbor boy there too. One day, she asked him why he came 5 times a day, and she will never forget his reply.
Darrien Middleton, a nurse who works in the emergency department at her local hospital in Tennessee, loves her grandmother Wilma, better known as “Nana.” In fact, if Darrien had things her way, Nana would be living with her, so that Darrien could keep a better eye on her health since her grandmother has been battling cancer.
Two years ago, Darrien’s grandma received the shocking news that she was suffering from lung cancer. She underwent surgery and had a lung removed in a bid to make her better again. Unfortunately, six months after the surgery, Wilma was diagnosed with breast cancer. “Two separate cancers less than a year apart, it has been an extremely long two years, to say the least,” Darrien admitted.
Even after being hit with the troubling diagnoses, Wilma isn’t going anywhere. Not only is she determined to battle cancer and win, she’s also stubbornly refused to move in with her granddaughter. Darrien explains that Wilma has lived in her house for nearly 38 years, and it’s the one thing that has remained constant. “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 furthered.
Fortunately, it would seem that Wilma’s routine has led her to find a guardian angel here on earth. Although Darrien freely admits that not many people have good things to say regarding the area of Jackson, Tennessee, where Nana Wilma lives, it’s in exactly this neighborhood that a beam of hope shines through in such dark times.
Since Darrien works full-time nightshift and is also a full-time student, her schedule is packed. “We don’t have much family here, so getting Nana back and forth to treatment every day and being able to check on her frequently (or as much as I would like) has been difficult for me to do,” Darrien said.
“This is where her beautiful neighbors come into play,” she added. “They check on her multiple times throughout the day and have even helped me get her to chemotherapy and radiation appointments. They are honestly what keeps Nana going. I can’t go over to her home without someone at some point yelling, ‘Hey Ms. Wilma, How ya doing?’ She knows everyone by name and they know and love her just as much as I do.”
But, there’s one neighbor in particular who lights up Wilma’s life more than anyone else. It’s 7-year-old Caleb, who is only in the first grade and lives with his grandmother, father, and two brothers in the house next door to Wilma’s. Nana offers Caleb food when she has some to spare and has become close friends with the boy, who Darrien says has an “old man’s soul” that everyone loves. Caleb sits on Wilma’s porch with her and they talk for hours about anything and everything.
Seeing the love and light their story brings to an often dark world, Darrien decided to share Caleb and Wilma’s story with the world. “My nana is so attached to him and the bond they have is incredible,” Darrien explained, according to Love What Matters. “He doesn’t come from much, but you can tell he has been raised on love. 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,” she said of the young man.
“This kid deserves the love he has received from this post,” she said of the image above, which she posted to social media. “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.” Wilma will soon undergo another 30 rounds of radiation therapy, Darrien explained, but she added that, no matter what happens, Nana has her family, her kind neighbors, and Caleb in her life.
The kindness and love displayed in Wilma’s neighborhood have truly been a blessing, and Darrien hopes it touches others who might be struggling in this world that’s all too often full of ugliness. Darrien concluded the incredible story perfectly, saying, “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.”