By Sarah Elisabeth Sawyer
When Montine Jones walked into Reba’s Ranch House, apprehensive and alone, she felt lost.
For several weekends, she had driven from Edmond, Oklahoma, to see her husband Jay who was fighting Covid at the hospital in Denison. The constant travel and stress was wearing on Montine’s health. As a heart attack survivor, she knew she couldn’t care for him if she lost her own health. That left Montine fighting on two fronts.
Driving back and forth while still working her job needed to end. Though she dreaded leaving her dedicated support group of their friends and church family in Oklahoma, Montine packed her bags and prepared to take up residence in Denison for the long haul.
Uprooting frightened her, but she was surprised to find herself treated like the most important person to ever walk through the doors at Reba’s Ranch House. Mitch Gray (Guest Relations), Marilyn Bice (Director), and Jeri Carosella (Guest Relations) welcomed Montine warmly into what would become her home for the next five weeks.
A New Home and Family
Montine immediately felt the love and prayers surrounding her in the ranch house. She was in a place where caregivers are cared for.
Between Montine and Jay’s grown children, their grandchildren, and her sister, she was surrounded by
immediate family every weekend. Her daughter even set up a surprise anniversary table of pie and wedding pictures in Jay’s hospital room for he and Montine’s 31st wedding anniversary.
But when the family went home after a weekend, Montine knew she could get through the week with nothing to worry about, being blessed with a place to stay and new friends. All her needs were taken care of at the ranch house, and she began to give that love and care to others in return.
As the longest guest during the time she was in the house, Montine saw many families come and go. It became a ministry for her to talk to new arrivals, helping them feel comfortable at the Ranch House and offering fresh baked goods she made in the house’s kitchen. Fellow guests thought she was part of the staff, and each person presented an opportunity for her to make a friend.
New Support Group
Every day, Montine was able to walk back and forth from the hospital, giving her the feeling that Jay was just around the corner. And every day, the Reba’s Ranch House staff asked if there were changes and prayed with her often.
“The staff listened when it wasn’t good news, loved me when I wasn’t lovable, and took care of my needs,” Montine says. “It truly helped take away my daily worries and encouraged me. Jay never knew about Reba’s Ranch House, but he would have loved it and been so proud to know you comforted, blessed, and took wonderful care of his wife.”
Montine entered Reba’s Ranch House feeling apprehensive and alone; she departed with the unconditional love the house gave her that is still in her heart.
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