My First Post
Monday, February 20, 2012
How did I get to this place of caring so deeply for another human being who is virtually alone at the age of 98 and a half? Her family lives in Arizona and Betty lives alone the majority of the time. I met her almost 4 years ago when I moved into our complex. It was our first day in our new environment when a women walked by on the arm of a friend. she stopped to say hello and welcomed me into the neighborhood. Betty is her name, a outgoing, slender built lady who proceeded to tell me she was 95 years old. Since then we have become friendly and I would occasionally visit with her and have her to my home for dinner. But gradually I saw that she was losing a great deal of weight and her ability to sustain herself had diminished. Then it happened, one day about two months ago I went to her home to visit and she was extremely weak and had trouble walking. I asked her what was wrong and she said that she didn't know. My next question was: "Did you eat anything?" I don't know was the answer. I walked into her kitchen and there was no food! Nothing was in the refrigerator and nothing but ginger ale in the cabinet. I immediately went home and made so tomato soup loaded with rice and brought it back to her. She ate the entire bowl and stated to feel better.
That was the beginning of this journey that I have chosen to walk. Helping another human being stay fed and healthy. I will gradually during this blog share stories about this journey with you because I know that there are many people like Betty in our Country who are alone and not able to help themselves. Yet when I look around me, I notice that most people want to turn their heads and look the other way. They do not want to get involved and they do not want to take the time to help.
This blog however is not simply about this woman, Betty, I believe the message is far deeper and much more urgent. The bigger story, I believe, is about our lack of compassion and the desire to share and care for other human beings.
In the beginning of civilization, members of communities helped and took care of each other. The younger took on the burdens of the older and made sure they were safe and secure. When I called and spoke to Betty's daughter, she said she was concerned but didn't want to spend the money needed to care for her mother. Betty owns or did own her own home until she turned it over to her daughter and husband. Their sights are solely on the value that they inherited not the value of helping another human being. They call her once and sometimes twice a day to hear her voice and then end the conversation. As Betty has told me numerous times, they only want to know if she is still breathing!
So why am I so caught up in this story and this negative situation. Because I care. Yet when I look deeper into this situation, I also wonder if I am helping out because I do not want this to happen to me.
Wow! is this what it is all about. At this moment, I can honestly say, I don't know. I do need to sit with it and examine who I am and how I want my life to play out.
Aging is something that happens to all of us. It is the inevitable happenstance of life yet, I do believe that we all have the right to age gracefully and with ease and inner peace. When I see Betty just spending her days laying on her bed doing nothing, I feel a need to get involved. To stimulate her, to keep her active and alive and above all to keep her nurtured.
I intend to continue this blog on a daily basis, sharing my thoughts and insight into aging and how we humans can learn to be my compassionate through caring and sharing.
Joan Marie Ambrose