Mary is among the fortunate seniors you could meet. Despite her fragile frame, she can still walk, talk, play, dance, and she yearns to do more!!! She considers herself blessed because she is still capable. But, her claim to the privilege of still being alive and able to attend to herself would be full if she has company. In her own home.
“I am okay, man” she said and gushed “Oh my God!” when told she’s on camera.
Mary, along with other 98-year old fellows, is lucky to have a senior center that she could go to daily. The senior center makes them feel good and enjoy themselves so if ever they won’t return the next day, at least, they had fun during their last day in the center. “Maybe our oldies want to play again, or sing or dance,” said the senior staff personnel. “These are the people who have been pushed off to the side, unneeded, who can’t do as much.” They are considered a nuisance if mingled with their kin who have to focus on their busy lives, with jobs and family in tow. It brings chills to the senior center staff when Mary and the group bid each other goodbye with hugs and kisses, saying, “See you tomorrow” if there’s still tomorrow for them.
Looking at Mary socializing, meeting friends her age, and “do something past your time” like play, sing, dance, be goofy, she doesn’t look lonely. She does not give the impression she is secluded. In fact, she exudes strength and an aura of a fulfilled life with ‘can-do’ character, which comes off as a challenge for the younger ones who minister to her. Actually, it’s the people around her who feel the sadness of her lonesome.
It is interesting what Mary could be doing when she’s back to her home, alone after her happy moments in the senior center. She said the junk mails keep her going or she will go nuts! She rips them, shreds them one by one. Puts the torn pieces in the garbage bin, then throws the garbage away. She has found a way to keep her daily life interesting. She wasn’t asking for a visit but if it happens, then she would be happier.
So when the surprise trip to her house by the senior center staff happened, all she could mutter was, “I love you all for coming. It has made my day. I will never forget this.”
Looking at the video from a different perspective, Mary is truly blessed living in a welfare state who has programs and provisions for senior citizens. Her basic physical needs are met. All she needs is a company at home. Her counterparts in poorer countries do not enjoy those provisions but they have companions, and the co-existence wallowing in poverty makes them miserable instead of happy. It truly depends on where you are.
But, generally, Mary’s life stirs us to think about our parents who are still alive. It makes us think of Exodus 20:12 and Ephesians 6:2, “Honor your father and mother, which is the first commandment with a promise”.
We will all pass the old age soon. Let’s make our oldies happy. Sometimes we don’t have to say anything, a simple visit will do.