Saturday, August 11, 2012

Rambling about Reunions and Simple Communication

I want to tell you, my readers, how much I appreciate your visiting this blog. Your comments mean so, so much to me. 

Tonight the TV is not cooperating, and I am secretly happy that it isn't. I am forced to be alone with my own thoughts and a couple of sweet sleeping canines. 
So I'll share a few of those thoughts with you, my friends. 
Tomorrow I am going to a family reunion - not my Councils or Robisons. I am going to my husband's family reunion - Alexanders and Huffs. This is the first time I have been back since he died in 2009. I know his absence will hit me like a falling tree when I walk into the yard, see his cousins on the big porch, and speak to them after all this time. 
I knew I couldn't go there until now and I am getting cold feet tonight. Our niece and her daughter are traveling with me. I want to see everyone, but I am not sure I can keep my emotions controlled. 
I need your positive thoughts sent my way. 

On another train of thought, I found that I can be helpful to my sister, June, in a way I'd not thought of before. I had dinner with her at the Assisted Living  dining room. She has found it difficult to be wheeled in and set at a table with strangers, some who only want their acquaintances to sit with them. They remind me of the high school cafeteria where certain groups of girls gathered at a table and stared daggers through anyone who had the audacity to join them. 

My sister had not faced this situation in other senior living communities. Her husband had been with her. I understand her being uncomfortable because some of the patients have brain damage either from strokes or dementia. One night a man said outright, "I don't want you to sit with us."
 She asked  the rude man, "Why."
He said, "I just don't like you."  He didn't even know her. June was hurt, of course. Everyone loves June.
Well, she will never sit with that man and his wife again. Even his wife said, "He's strange."

The night I took my sister down to the dining room, I spotted a single woman at a table for three. We asked if we could sit with her. 
She seemed surprised we asked. I found Mary to be a delightful  dinner companion. She wore hearing aids, but as we know they serve little purpose with fifty people talking around the room. I found myself listening to Mary and repeating her words to my sister who was on my right. I was a kind of interpreter. But it worked. Mary was delighted to meet June and said she would be looking for her in exercise class. June liked Mary and both of them now are friends. 

Communication is such an important key to human relations. I feel sure that one day Mary and June will sit, one on one, and talk about growing up in south Alabama and south Georgia, about raising daughters, having grand-kids, and other aspects of both their interesting lives. 
Mary was born in 1914. Warm and funny, she is a true southern lady. She hated leaving her friends in Winston-Salem, but she is happy at Sunrise, and very well known it appears, from all the smiles and little hand waves she bestowed on  passersby. 
"You were so good with Mary," my big sister said to me today. She seemed pleased.

I simply listened to Mary and showed a genuine interest in her life. Isn't that what we all want from people we meet?


Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen said...

Glenda, I'm so proud of you for going to Barry's family reunion. That is a big bold step that would be very difficult for any of us. I know they all will be very glad to see you and you'll have a great time. Keep telling yourself that when you get in the car to go, then don't look back.

I never thought seniors would be so rude to your sister. It does seem much like the old cafeteria days of our youth. I'm so glad you were able to help your sister. It must be very difficult for her. I know it would be for me.


Barbara Gabriel said...

This post touched me, Glenda. My husband is my friend, my sails, my anchor and I cannot imagine going to his family reunion if he were to die before me. Your post got me thinking that Barry's family undoubtedly misses him too, and your presence there will help them reconnect with him in a way they can't without you there. Let yourself feel what you feel: the heartache and loss, and also the fun and laughter.