I went to visit one of my favorite elderly clients this afternoon. I walked into the facility and there he was whistling in his wheelchair in front of the nurses’ station. I went up to him, hugged him and kissed the top of his head. I knelt down as he continued whistling. I held his hands. He immediately noticed my sandals, “Girl, how do you pretend to help me change motors with those shoes? If something falls on your feet I am liable for it! You can’t be coming to work with open-toe shoes!”
I smiled, holding on to his hand and said, “I’m not changing that motor today. I’m here to eat lunch with you…besides you gave me the day off. After all that work on that Chevy Impala you told me to take today off!” He looked at my toes and asked what was the glitter on them. I told him I needed some sparkles cause the world needed more shine. So he said that he whistles cause the world needs more love songs.
He was feisty today. It made my heart dance because it’s his third or fourth or ninth wind. He’s been in and out of hospice care. Whistling is what brings him life. When I hear him through the halls I know he’s feeling better.
I grabbed a nearby chair and we sat in the hall since he said he was not ready for lunch. He was just taking a break and was going back under the car. Years of having owned a body shop are very present these days. The only thing that lights him up are conversations about cars and races.
Of course we went through the “loop” of mechanic duties. I listened. We exchanged car talk. He corrected me and once again fixated on my inappropriate shoes. I giggled and he stopped, then asked about so and so. I made up stories that brought him comfort. I have learned with all my clients to go with the flow. We surf stories. In his case, I become the surfboard and he is the water guiding me to shore.
And here is the thing, sitting with him reminds me of my dad and grandfather. It reminds me of uncles and other men back in my childhood. He reminds me of me as a little girl and I remind him of someone but he can’t pin point who. So we are strangers each time I visit and I come out with full gratitude for his presence. I return to feel the breath of life in a larger scope.
This is aging without anyone by your side. That alone is hard to comprehend. There are millions like him. It brings me joy to be touched by divine wisdom through him and others like him.
In his BEingness I become aware of presence. I become fully aware of my own BEingness. We have this moment of unity. Holding my hand we join for a little bit and that’s all anyone wants. We just want the comfort of connections and feeling the acknowledgment of one soul to another.
Today he was my favorite connection. What was yours? Please share.