Older People

Elderly People, Grief, Tragedy

Yesterday I was painting a door at and elderly housing project in West Haven Connecticut. An older lady came up to me and told me about her son who died at 50 years of age. She really came out of nowhere with the information but I listened. Maybe she just needed to be heard. She continued by telling me about her 12 grand children, 1 of whom died while fooling around with a gun when he was 17. I tried to relate to her by saying that my wife doesn’t like guns but she couldn’t hear me. I just smiled at her and she went on. She has 27 great grand children who are all “good” as she put it. To this I said, “You have quite a legacy”. She agreed and went on to tell me that she has lost 2 husbands and will not re marry.

What would it be like to be her? Does she tell her life story to every painter she comes across? I started thinking about grief. I know people who haven’t lost anyone close to them some of whom are well into their twenties. How do these people deal with disappointment and tragedy. When something finally hits how will they cope.

At the end of the conversation with the woman she said that she had to go finish the laundry. “It’s always something” she told me. I couldn’t help but think that she compared doing chores with loosing family members. I’m pretty sure that I’m wrong here but the thought did cross my mind.

Be well old lady.

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