Will’s Thought’s – I’m sorry for things that I have not done for senior citizens.
I drove past the cemetery on a cold, gray blustery day, and saw an old woman kneeling beside a grave. As the wind whipped her scarf, her concentration never faltered, her gaze was fixed far beyond our world. For a brief second, empathy flooded my soul. When I got home, I began to reflect on what I’d felt, and what it meant. I know what it’s like to lose a sibling, and I know what’s like to lose a parent, but I have no idea what it is like to lose a child or a spouse, and pray to the Creator that I never do. I know that for some people, life is nothing more than a string of tragedies, punctuated by brief moments of bliss. These people have known losses that cause pain far greater than words can ever describe, so profound that it seizes and torments their souls with supernatural power.
I remembered being in a hurry behind a gray and gnarled older lady at the post office one day, as she searched every inch of her purse for the exact change (instead of paying with a twenty dollar bill clearly visible). I could feel that ancient demon, impatience, growing in power. When she finished, and had carefully re-organized and re-packed her entire purse, she turned and hobbled past me. Her gaze turned to me, as she sweetly said, “I’m sorry for taking so long, son.” My heart almost broke. Her eyes were a glazed, cataract blue, her back was bent, and I could see by her movements that she was in severe pain. But she was wrong. I should’ve apologized to her.
I never thought about the hardships that she’d known in life, and had no idea of all her losses. I never considered her genealogy, or pondered the epic journeys she had taken. She was a sweet, kind and considerate soul, and I was a complete and utter horse’s patooty. I was simply ignorant and self-centered. This woman had buried her parents and probably her spouse, her friends, and possibly even some of her children. Decade upon decade of unrelenting toil had taken it’s toll on her body, wrinkling her skin, deteriorating her muscles, joints and bones, dimming her vision and hearing, and this Angel was apologizing to me? Oh Lord, please let her read this, because I want her, and all our seniors, to know how I feel.
I’m sorry for not doing more to help you. For being in such a darn hurry, and for not giving you the respect and honor that you deserve. I’m sorry that our medical system lets so many of you suffer horribly during your last days. I’m sorry for not sitting and listening to your tales, for every one of them are pages of our history, and day by day more get torn out, never to be read again. I’m sorry when you get on a bus, and no one will give you their seat. I’m so very sorry for not understanding the depth of your pain and loneliness. But most of all, I’m sorry that our province, and our nation, does so little for you, the very people who have done so very, very much for us. Please, the next time that you see a senior sitting all alone, recall this line from a John Prine tune. “…so if you’re passing down the street sometime, and you spot some hollowed ancient eye, please don’t pass them by and stare, say hello in there … hello.”
Will’s thoughts prove that everybody has opinions, but he has way more than he should. From dogs that won’t stop barking, to the antics of his spouse, ‘Crazy Lady’, Will’s Thoughts will make you smile.