Seniors too often are left alone by their families, their friends have passed on, and much too many are ignored, forgotten, and deemed insignificant. I had the great priviledge of meeting a most beautiful and intellectual 83 year old lady named Marie. A former Windsor nurse, born and raised in Quebec, Marie is worldly, wise and yet alone. To see her, you sense a physical beauty of days gone-by, now nicely manicured into a rather classic, refined vintaged grace.She wishes her hair color maintained in a brown hue, but underneath lies white sheemered locks that provide an elegance suited to her. Her smile radiates through the bluest aquamarine eyes, eyes that at times depict a sadness hovering beneath the twinkle. A familiar sadness that I have witnessed in every senior encountered, as if it naturally follows with old age. I feel a bit of this meloncholy even at 57, having felt wanted and useful when I was a teacher and mother of a baby boy. At times I wonder if I'm even remembered for the role I've played in this world. To be 83, no longer a nurse, a wife or mother, Marie's sorrow stems from the same branch as mine, wondering what will become of us if we no longer hold a role or function in this world. I suppose like most women, we underestimate our beauty, our potential, our purpose, which so blatantly contradicts how others see us.
Marie was no doubt the nurse that went the extra mile, cared beyond the call of duty, intervened at injustice, and shared her gentle gift of compassion more vehemently with the undesirables.
We have spent quite a few hours over the last few months exchanging stories and memories.Marie is healthy, strong, eats well, holds faith above all else, yet chooses to be alone as so many do. Her story is rich in love, hardship, and wisdom. If only I had time at my disposal, her and I could become long lasting friends. I think of Marie everyday, dismayed that the world doesn't see her. Oh what a story teller, a gifted intellectual, a woman of profound faith, a devout caregiver, a witty, vibrant, intropective human being.
I unexpectedly stopped by to say hello one day, and as I walked up her driveway, over the waist high brick column I could see she faced away, her floppy hat shielding her from the heat of day. So many questions attacked my senses. Was she lonely? Why is no one venturing to her door? What is she thinking about? How does she feel? She needs a pet, a friend, family close by. Is she afraid being alone? She should never be alone. She has so much to offer. I will be a friend. How can one not be, once you've met her?
I was so happy to see her, and she felt the same. Could I be so lucky to have Marie in my life corner? The good Lord has graced by life with such rich blessings, and even now in retirement, He continues to look out for me. When I was a little girl, I seemed to forever gravitate toward the elderly in the neighborhood. For some reason, they embraced me as their own and it made me feel so loved, and in turn, I loved them. Today, as my life becomes full circle, it is still the old soul that I gravitate toward, and they toward me. I am comforted, valued and cherished by the Maries' of this world, and I hope they know the immense gratitude I feel...and the mutual adoration I have for them.