I have written about some of the lovely residents of our neighbourhood in a previous post but I feel the need to add more.
I often run into a very elegant elderly lady on my way to town. She is always wearing a skirt, pantyhose, starched blouse and a broach or scarf. She walks her little dog or they ride together in her motor cart. I’m always greeted with such a beautiful smile and a cheerful ‘good morning’. One day when I was walking to the beach, I gave her one of my bookmarks that had a photo of dog prints in the sand with the caption ‘love walks on four paws’. She was so happy to receive it – gave me a big hug thanked me profusely. We have little chats on the street when we meet now and I find myself being disappointed if I don’t see her when I’m out. If I am privileged to reach her age, I would love to possess even some of her grace.
We have a new puppy whom we love to bits but at times can be challenging – that’s another post! When I walked her yesterday, I was not in a good frame of mind. Just wanted to spend the rainy afternoon painting (or trying to practice my painting) with my music playing and a nice cup of tea. Porsha was not of the same thinking. Playing with my slippers, chewing on the area rug and my legs seemed like far more fun. I relented and thought it best to take her for a walk, although I was not happy about having to forego ‘me time’.
An elderly lady was walking across the street. As soon as Porsha saw her, she started barking. As it appeared that the lady was going to cross the street toward us, I picked up my pup. After greeting the woman and her offering Porsha her hand, she said that she was going to pick up her dog at the nearby house. She’d been at a memorial that afternoon and her friends kindly looked after her dog. She said that she’d gone to the memorial to support her daughter – the deceased was her former mother in law. Then she just started talking non-stop. She lost her husband a year ago to Alzheimer’s disease and had been relieved in a way when he passed, knowing that he was not suffering anymore but this past little while, she’s been sadder than ever. I offered that grief does that and that there are no set timelines – it surfaces uncontrollably. She said she should be stronger. I emphatically said that she shouldn’t feel that way. There is no right or wrong. By this time she is crying. I gave her a hug and said I was sorry for her loss and that I hoped her day got better. She thanked me, put her head down and walked into her neighbour’s driveway.
I believe there are no coincidences. She needed someone to talk to and perhaps I needed to be reminded how blessed I am to have Mark, and that our time together is so precious. That lovely lady would have given anything to go home to her husband.
I stood behind another lady in the lineup at the post office the other day. Her daughter was with her and told me that her mom was 96 years young. I told her that she sure didn’t look 96. She said ‘even the back of my hair? I had a hard time with it this morning’. I laughed and said no, it was perfect. She smiled and said ‘well, the secret to living this long is to just keep breathing and oh, have the odd glass of wine!’. I love her!
When I worked, I didn’t have these kind of interactions with strangers. I was too busy working and trying to squeeze in a purposeful life outside of the office. My family, friends and coworkers were all important to me and it seems that that’s all I had time for. I am so grateful that retirement has allowed me to gain an interest in others in my community. The lessons and reminders they give me are priceless – not to mention just the pure joy of their company.