Roger and I traveled to Boise today. He had some meetings so I wanted to go along. It was fun to get away together. The drive was nice and we talked most of the way. Even laughed. I listened to him talk about work and He listened to me vent about some daily stuff.
Anyway... We went to Red Lobster for dinner. Ali and Chase gave us a gift card to eat there for Christmas!
We were seated at a booth. I faced one way and Roger sat the other. His view was different than mine. At the table next to us... Was a family of seven. I hadn't really noticed them but they got my attention by a noise of the oldest lady trying to open an envelope. Her hands were shaking with excitement as she tried to open what looked like a card. She looked to be in her 80's. Her attempt to open the card failed so she picked up her butter knife and finally got it open. It must of been her Birthday! I was about as excited as she was wondering if when she opened the card there would be some kind of gift card or money. But no... I kinda felt bad for her. Then I realized the message in the card had to be more valuable than any amount of Birthday money. She smiled as she read the card. It was as if she had the stage to herself and for just a moment all eyes were on her and only her.
It was only minutes later that the conversation at their table reassembled. Most of the time the lady would drift off. She seemed to always look off with her face kinda turning to the right. Not in a senile way. Maybe she was looking out the window. She appeared to be invisible to her family.
I interrupted Roger and his scrimp scampi to ask..."Which one of us had the best view in the restaurant"? He responded a typical "I Don't know." I pointed out the little lady to him. She would drift off and then revisit her food on occasion. After all it was her Birthday dinner. I mentioned to him that I didn't think that her family intentionally were leaving her out. They probably loved her very much. She was just older. She was taking on that role rather well of being elderly and feeling alone, less relevant. Surely she couldn't bring anything interesting to the conversation. I senced that she was thinking about her late husband. I know... Call me crazy I didn't know her and could of been wrong. But her husband would of appreciated her. He would of looked into her eyes. He would of asked her questions. He would of smiled as she blew out the candles on her Birthday cake.
I thought about that experience quite a bit tonight. Made me think of my Mom and both Grandmothers. All three lost their spouses and lived alone for years. Mom, Grandma Melva and Grandma Shenton had to of felt the pain of that isolation. They say you come into this world alone and you leave alone. You might not believe this but... I think before leaving this earth alone we need to of felt more relevant, more loved. I think we as family and friends should take a step back and be more thankful for the elderly. We have so much to learn from their wisdom. Spend more time with them. No money or gift card could ever replace that time spent. For they have given us LIFE and LOVE and LESSONS...