This is a comment I made a while ago in another blog linked below, the elder spoken of has passed on and sometimes my thoughts turn to her as they are now.
Time doesn’t always seem to allow a person to age gracefully, the weight of it stooping shoulders, slowing the gait, sometimes obscuring vision, a body racked with pain, and yet a perceivable dignity can come with age depending on the individual, wisdom based on experience and perception that sees beyond the surface, beyond the bling, and quite bluntly beyond the bs.
Such was the case of this woman, ravaged in body by age by not in a spirit that remained forever young, and that was the way I saw her – stooped, great haired, but young at heart.
She cried when I took her home after the shopping trip mentioned below, cried clutching the flowers I had given her and held my hand for the longest time calling me her son – and at times would tease me about taking her on “the banana split date”.
You don’t forget moments like that and when the memory comes they bring a certain melancholy with them and thoughts of what more could I have done that I didn’t?
A melancholy enhanced by an awareness that her’s wasn’t a singular story, that others in similar situations exist, always have and undoubtedly always will.
The weight of age and the indifference of many who flee from the idea, the reality that age and the infirmities that often accompany it will come for them as well, and perhaps now before age arrives is the time to pay it forward:
“I remember a time when I took an elder to the store, aged and
stooped from the years, had to be assisted in and out of the
truck and held my arm as we shopped.
There was an article she wanted on a shelf but couldn’t reach,
and looking a little saddened by that reality said then was a time
when she could have and asked if I would get it for her.
On an impulse I put my arm around her waist and gently lifted her
so she could and she lit up like a ray a of sunshine, then hugged me
and hiding her face in what I assume was embarrassment at her words
said it felt good to be held by a man, that it had been years and she
had almost forgotten.
Broke my heart.
As is the way of some stores they had a display of flowers, small bouquets
to purchase, so I picked one out and gave it to her – she said no
one had ever given her flowers before and I responded someone should have but the world is full of fools and then took her for a banana split.
Her words haunted me for a while and still do to a degree in recalling
them – we don’t live in a perfect world and never will, but sometimes
the inequities and needs of others are all too glaring.”