Oct 14, 2013

Old People and Clocks

The other evening as Chloe was getting ready for bed she had an epiphany and couldn't wait to share it with me.  "Mom, can you come sit on my bed and talk?  I have something I need to tell you."


"So, you know how I had to put my old clock in a bag to give away because it stopped working and hardly did anything anymore?"


"Well, I think we (society) treat old me people like my clock.  We just put them someplace else and get rid of them since they don't work like they used to."

"How does that make you feel?" (doing my best psychiatrist impersonation....I wanted to ride out her train of thought here, not spoil it with my own opinions).

"It makes me sad.  I like old people.  They are funny and have lots of stories to tell."

"Isn't that the truth!  Remember when we used to bring Meals on Wheels to all the elderly people at those apartments in McKinney?"

"Ya.  I loved getting to see Mrs. Koeffler.  She gave us a cookie every time.  Do you think she's still alive?"

"No.  I don't think she is, sweetie.  Do you know she looked forward to us bringing her those meals just to see you kids because she was so lonely? Kids make old people happy and vice versa because you remind them of when they or their kids were young.  All the old people we delivered food to were like that; they couldn't wait to see a stranger so they would have someone to talk to about their day.  That makes me sad too."

"Mom, do you remember Mr. Green?  How he would always take my face in his hands and give me a kiss on the face."

Smiling, remembering good times.  Mr. Green was an elderly Polish man with dementia.  He used to be a photographer and every time we came he would invite us in to show us the same photos he took years ago...many of them for newspapers.  He would point to them and say, "There was that and then that one and I like this one....".  He couldn't remember anything about the photos, only that he took them.  Then I would ask him how he was in Polish (the one phrase I could remember), "Jak się masz?" and his face would lighten up with recognition and he would happily respond, "Dobrze".  I never ceased to be amazed at how he could remember that and not other things.  His smile was contagious. 

Most of the people we used to deliver food to for 5 years have all passed away.  But by visiting them, it helped us more in the long run.  My kids aren't afraid of old people.  They see how we need each other and we shouldn't just push them out of sight because they 'don't work like they used to'.

Chloe then went on to say that she didn't want to see that happen to her Grandparents and I assured her it wouldn't.  We would take excellent care of them all of their days.  I then told her that the way she was feeling was called 'compassion' and to remember how it feels.  She's always afraid she doesn't know God and I encouraged her that feeling what she just felt and having the thoughts she just had was all from God - that he put both in her heart.  That elicited a smile and a look of contentment.



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