I work in a retirement community. Today was the monthly meeting of the residents, and I like to go to the meetings and hear all the committee reports so I know what’s going on in the community. Plus, you know, getting out of the office for a while.
As I sat there today, I scanned the room for my favorite resident, Mrs. Pleasant. This woman is in her 80s, and I noticed her at first because she looks like my Grammie looked; twinkle in the eye, a sweet smile, a comforting look that drew me to her. My mother died in 2008, a month past her 79th birthday, and I started working at the retirement community right before she died, and this woman reminded me of my mother, too. After a few months, I approached the woman as she sat in the lobby, and asked her if she had a minute. She welcomed me to sit down and asked me how I was. I said I was fine, how was she, and did she mind if I told her something personal? She smiled and said she would love to hear it, and laughed. I told her that she reminded me of my Grammie and that I just felt drawn to talk to her. She thought that was really interesting, and asked me about Grammie. We sat and chatted until I figured I would get in trouble for hanging out in the lobby instead of working.
That night when I got home, I pulled out a picture of Grammie. This woman looks nothing like her! HA! Physically, there is a slight resemblance, but nobody but me would probably even see it. I guess it was her spirit I was drawn to, and so I saw her as someone I loved with a similar spirit. Over time Mrs. Pleasant and I have become friends. She turns out to be of the same spiritual mindset I am, with similar interests and even mutual acquaintances. When I found out my job was changing, I hadn't seen her to tell her I was moving to another office. I knew she would wonder where I was and hoped to see her at the meeting.
As I sat at the meeting listening to the reports and scanning the room for Mrs. Pleasant, my eye stopped from time to time on various residents. So many of them remind me of my mother, physically, but not in the face. This one walks like Mom did. That one has the same hairdo. These people are all her peers, veterans of the Depression and World War II, sharing a common bond that is deep and proud. The things they remember, she remembered. The things they love, she loved. Where I work, they have fashion shows, and they sing old songs together, and they dress nicely when they come to dinner. They are active in the community, running committees and the Board of Directors and getting things done. Many of the men are retired military. So many of them have had amazing lives. Mom would have fit right in with these people and had a wonderful time with lots of friends.
I wonder, when I’m in my 80s, what we will be doing in my retirement home. I can see my generation sitting around singing war songs, but ours would be remembered protest songs. I cannot see my generation having fashion shows, but you never know. I hope we have as much fun as the residents I see every day are having.
During my meeting scan, I had located Mrs. Pleasant, so after the meeting I went to her table and said hi. Her eyes lit up, we hugged, we talked for about 20 minutes, and I went back to work feeling like I had just spent an hour with my Mom. I love my job.