Call Me First

Call Me First

When I was a young mother with my first baby, my husband was still in college. We both worked part time to make ends meet.

Looking forward to a day off work, I had planned to watch an old movie on television. This was before DVDs or streaming services.

The movie would begin at the perfect time—10:00 a.m.—when our son would be napping. It starred Cary Grant, one of my favorite American movie stars.

The night before my anticipated day off, the ward Relief Society president called. A sister in our ward had suffered a mild stroke and needed care the next day until her son returned from work.

“I would do this myself, but I have company,” the Relief Society president said. She explained that she had no one else to ask and offered to watch our son while I cared for the sister. I reluctantly agreed.

The next morning, I dropped off our son and went to visit the sister. Her name was Louise, and I felt a sudden rush of affection for her. She was old enough to be my grandmother, who had recently died.

I helped Louise dress and then prepared her breakfast. She eased into a chair and turned on the television. Soon it was 10:00 a.m. As she flipped through the channels with the remote, she said, “This television has nothing to offer.”

I hesitated and then said, “There’s a Cary Grant movie on channel 11.”

“Really?” she asked. “I love Cary Grant!”

We watched the movie and thoroughly enjoyed it. Afterward, she shared things about her life when she was my age. She told me about her son, and I told her about mine. She talked about the Church and how she missed it.

When her son returned, I promised to return. I told the Relief Society president to call me first if Louise ever needed anyone.

Sometime during the next two weeks, Louise suffered another stroke and passed away before I had a chance to see her again. We had shared only nine hours and a movie, but she became a dear friend. I think of her often.

I am thankful I didn’t lose the chance to help a sister who needed me—and whom I needed, though I didn’t realize it.