Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I met a woman at work on Sunday that absolutely broke my heart. It took everything in me to hold back tears after our conversation and she was pretty much all I talked about for the rest of the day.
She came in to order carpet. I had a hard time understanding her, she had a thick accent and her English was poor. After repeating herself many times, I finally gathered enough information to help her pick out what she wanted and get her order ready for delivery and installation. In the meantime, she never stopped talking.
She came to the United States in 1985 from the Czech Republic. She married her husband that year, had two wonderful children and then lost her husband in '92. She has a daughter who lives in Tennessee and a son that lives in Piqua. She lives in Pleasant Hill, surprisingly, just a block over from us.
She kept repeating that she was all alone and that while she wanted to do things on her own, she always struggled with them. Her reasoning for getting carpet was that she was getting too old to get down on her knees and scrub her vinyl floor. She was 90 years old. I asked her if her son ever came down to help her and she told me no, he is always to busy.
It broke my heart.
She went on to tell me that she still mows her own lawn and that she's proud to still do as much as she can. I told her that was good, it was good to keep moving and doing as long as she could. We had a great conversation and I learned a lot of about her but before she started to leave, she asked me to come see her. She told me that she was so lonely and would love the company. I told her I would and I will.
I hope to have made a new friend but I hate hearing stories like hers. She is here all alone, her family living overseas and her family to busy to come see and help her. I have to wonder how so many people go on in their daily lives leaving the thoughts of their elders behind. If it were not for them, we would not be here. They nurtured us and our parents growing up, they worked hard their entire lives just to become old and forgotten. It's so, so sad.
I've spent a good portion of my life with the elderly. I make it a point to go see my grandmother at least once a week and while I'm there, we usually try to visit others who are older and can't get out and about or do things on their own. I have seen how their eyes light up when someone walks in the room. I have heard them cry and beg that you come back and see them again soon.
If only more people would realize how much ten minutes can mean to them. If they would just sit to listen to the stories and life experiences they can share with you. It would make your life so richer and rewarding. I am so excited to get to know Anna more. I can only imagine the stories that she will be able to tell, the pictures she can share and the lessons that she's learned over the years. I'm hoping to make it down there this week with a big plate of cookies. They probably won't be as good as hers, but I know that it will brighten her day in the greatest of ways.