I want to dedicate this blog post to four wonderful young women, without whom I wouldn’t be able to focus on my son’s arrival next month. Jana, Rachel, Cassie and I share the facilitating hat at our group – at least one of us is there every week to make sure our senior buds have the best time (so far!) of their lives. Jana wears another hat which is to pass our seniors’ handwritten stories onto Allison. Allison is our copy editing coordinator who works behind the scenes with copy editors around the country to make sure our seniors’ stories get typed up between our group’s weekly sessions, so they can be shared with readers like you, on this blog, our other social media, books and events. As you will see in the stories below, each of them has a heart of gold. With this blog post, I just want to say...
Jana, Rachel, Cassie and Allison: Thank you for the impact that you’ve made, not just on our seniors’ lives, but also mine ;) I appreciate you guys so, so much!
Jana Henry, Volunteer
Not Really A Loss
I’m not sure in this life if we have a time limit to grieving. If we do have time limits I myself think that it’s only a time limit that we place there ourselves. On December 19 almost 2 years ago I spoke my last words to my granny. Though she didn’t speak back I know she heard me. A few days later she passed. I remember the holiday season being a blur. In my heart I felt like I had lost my best friend. Though I know it was her time I selfishly wished her to stay 97 more years. I don’t cry sad tears anymore but I do shed thankful ones. You don’t get many relationships in life like the one her and I shared. I smile at the habits of hers I picked up. I laugh when my family says I sound just like her, and I fully accept it now when people say I act like an old lady because – young or old – she was one of the best people you could have ever known. A long winded woman who turned every conversation with a stranger into two old friends catching up.
Rachel Hampton, Volunteer
I made a new friend! Her name is Cat, and she is a friend of my boyfriend, Serge. I am always nervous to meet new people, because when I went to a different school I had a very hard time making friends – I was very lonely. That was a hard time in my life. I have more friends now, but then I worry about losing them. I worry, about the loss of friendship I see around me. People move around so much, they lose contact, with family even – it’s like we’re losing the talent to live in community with each other. I feel like – okay, I’m not very adventurous, but I just want to live in one place with a bunch of people I love and trust – I want to have a home. And the way society is set up now, that’s so hard to do. You leave to go to school, you follow whatever work you end up doing, you move and move again and you’re supposed to put all this energy into your work, it’s so hard to put energy into just paying attention to other people. A lot of the relationships I see around me are superficial as a result.
But I am determined not to live like that – I want the people in my life to be the most important part of my life. And I hope that if I focus on that, I’ll be able to find my own kind of happiness and love.
Cassie O'Leary, Volunteer
Sweet and Sour
I just wanted to share a little and say how happy I am to be here right now and see everyone's shining faces seated at these tables. Lately, life has handed me some lemons and I somehow forgot the old adage and recipe to always make lemonade with the lemons you're given. I'm reminded today that I am lucky to be here and alive and have the chance to share even just a small amount of words with you lovely people.