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Old 01-07-2008, 01:08 PM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,268,296 times
Reputation: 18984

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Today I really learned about the blessings of having friends in a local senior center.

The older we get, the more we all have to deal with death. I think most of us find our own ways to come to terms with it. Like everyone else, I've lost a lot of friends and family members. I think the hardest ones to deal with are hte ones that strike us as "unfair."

Yesterday I realized I still haven't finished grieving for my nephew's son, who was killed in Iraq. I was very close to him, he was in every way like my grandson. When he died, I was took on the role of strong pillar of the family. I thought I was past feeling any grief... and then a random comment (in fact, a joke) sent me reeling.

Since then I have been in so much pain. I've been obsessed with a notion that the government thinks buildings are more important than people (he was killed protecting a building). I know this is unhealthy, but going to a counselor didn't help. What did help was stopping by the senior center and going out for lunch with some friends.

You see, they've been in this situation (or similar ones). They know how it feels... and what's more important, they know me.

It's going to be awhile before I fully deal with this grief, but I know the senior center really made a difference in my life today. If you have a place like this in your community and you haven't checked it out yet, I encourage you to do so. Because sooner or later problems come up that young people just can't help you with. They mean well, but they can't help.
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Old 01-07-2008, 01:39 PM
 
Location: Houston, Texas
10,425 posts, read 43,552,501 times
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Im only 50 and may not fully understand what you are saying, but I just want to say you sound like a wonderful person.

Sorry for your loss in that wastefull illegal war.

You just take very good care of yourself. Life will treat you good.

Promise !
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Old 01-07-2008, 05:45 PM
 
Location: Monterey Bay, California -- watching the sea lions, whales and otters! :D
1,906 posts, read 6,128,254 times
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Hi Normie,

I think you're right. Seniors, in or outside of a Senior Center, know what loss is like, probably more acutely than most younger people. Of course, there are still plenty of younger people who have experienced the loss of parents, siblings, children, and friends.

As we age, it is inevitable that we lose many of our friends. And sometimes we may not think it "fair" that a good friend, who was good to others, and was healthy, vibrant and fun, is taken from us suddenly or even slowly. It seems that the time between deaths of friends and relatives is shorter as we grow older.

Personally, I think that the short-term memory loss that we have as we age is a blessing in disguise. Sometimes we just need to forget. Plus, it seems that as we age, that time goes by much more quickly. I think that time going by quickly is Nature's way of making it easier on us as we age with aches, pains, disease and losses. It's almost as if Nature realized that it's not worth dwelling on the negatives, so make them feel as if they're going by quickly. Yet, when we are young, things seem to go by soooooo slllloooowwwlllly.

Plus, older people have wisdom -- something no longer cherished by the young. In older days, the aged were considered "wise." And why? Because the older person does have wisdom from so many varied experiences, of learning how to cope, of having made mistakes, of having successes -- of knowing how to get from point A to point B in the best way possible -- only because of having stumbled in the past.

You're right -- some deaths truly are "unfair!" I can think of several off-hand, myself.

That is why, as an older person, too, I always ask for a doctor in my age group, a counselor or practitioner in my age group, or just anyone who is in a service position to be in my age group -- because they can understand better what I am experiencing. I quit seeing a medical practitioner because she was way too young and had no clue what I was talking about with problems that arise with age, and she was, I felt, arrogant in her opinions and felt she knew better, although she had never experienced what I had told her about. "Bye, bye," I said about her!

Thank you for suggesting the Senior Center for help in working through problems that those who have lived long lives have gone through themselves. Great suggestion.

I am also so sorry about your nephew's son. It is unfair. Keep letting others know -- let the truth be known.

Good luck to you, Normie.
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Old 01-08-2008, 05:43 AM
 
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One of the great reasons I am joining our local senior citizens center in March.
I may be a young one but there is a lot I can learn.
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Old 01-08-2008, 06:19 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,268,296 times
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Thanks everyone for your kind words. Even though this is not a fun experience, I'm lucky. I haven't been diagnosed with depression, I just need to process some emotions. And this allows me to be a better friend to people who are going through depression.

OK, I'm stretching for the silver lining here, but it's something to be grateful for.

One unexpected thing happened from all this. As of yesterday I am now completely officially retired. I've been talking about retiring for a long time now, becoming increasingly part time and handing the business over... but there was always some reason they needed me to show up for work every day. That was why I had so much time for city-data--it gave me something to do so that I was available to help out but also busy enough that the kids would take over.

I guess congratulations are in order, although I don't feel excited about it. But that's probably due to the other problem.

So far retirement's been... well... a little wierd. We run the business from the first floor of our house (or, I guess I should saying they run the business...) Anyway, I'm still the first one up in the morning so I'm still making the coffee for everyone. I've done that every day of my life for more than half a century. Morning routines are hard to break and I think you can be retired and still make the coffee.

But then I have to remember to keep away from the first floor of the house. Right now I'm typing on a lap top wihle sitting on a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. I've got to come up with a better plan for computer time..

At least the weather is nice, so I'm taking the sketch pad over to the senior center and after we have a card game or two we're going to head out to some garden and try our hands at being artists.

I have some other small "adventures" planned for the next few days, although I've been warned not to drive much while I'm going through these emotional jags. Thursday afternoon I see the counselor again so Thursday morning my friends are taking me out to Arlington. We'll see if that turns out to be a good idea or not... but even if it's not I think it's better to face something like this head on rather than run away from it.
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Old 01-08-2008, 04:27 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
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Yes, be careful about driving, I crunched my favorite car (twice) while once deep in an 'emotional jag'. You just are not at 'prime', and other things occupy (and over-run) your normal judgement.

Be serious about walking, as it is a great (and pretty safe) medication. I have loved walking in Arlington for hours at a time, and I've taken serious bike rides on C&O and other numerous bike paths in DC area. (you can walk too...) I'd find a loop that I could do via METRO / trains, buses with LOTS of walking. (have an indoor walking alternative too) and just enjoy the time alone to reflect and heal your heart. This is a tremendous loss, and so many have been through this in our history, it is truly tragic. When / if possible get to a VA care center and donate your wisdom / understanding to the many with serious needs (and very lonely). We (us who enjoy our freedom) have a great obligation, and the benefit of caring for them will help warm your heart. This is gonna take some time, be consistent but don't "drive" yourself or feel need for a 'quick-fix'. Let time and contemplation grow a healthy patch over this terrible scar.

with our best
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Old 01-08-2008, 07:09 PM
 
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
3,359 posts, read 10,642,922 times
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Normie,

It's especially sad when a younger person passes on who we had so many hopes for. I'm glad you've found some friends who you can share with. That's so important in life.

You seem like a kind and sensitive man and I'm sure you'll put those talents to excellent use in helping others.
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Old 01-09-2008, 06:56 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,268,296 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by janb View Post
Be serious about walking, as it is a great (and pretty safe) medication. I have loved walking in Arlington for hours at a time, and I've taken serious bike rides on C&O and other numerous bike paths in DC area. (you can walk too...) I'd find a loop that I could do via METRO / trains, buses with LOTS of walking. (have an indoor walking alternative too) and just enjoy the time alone to reflect and heal your heart.
Thanks you for such a thoughtful post. I quoted this one part becuase I whole heartedly agree! Walking has always been important to me. During the winter, I like doing the mall walking. As soon as the weather gets nice, you can always see me on a local hiking trail.

Kayaking is the other sport I really like. Even an old lady like me can handle a kayak (on a gentle river like the Potomac, that is). I'm lucky to live right along the river, so I can go kayaking almost every day once the weather gets warm. It just good for your soul to get out into nature.
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Old 01-09-2008, 07:05 AM
 
Location: Home is where the heart is
15,400 posts, read 25,268,296 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sgoldie View Post
Normie,

It's especially sad when a younger person passes on who we had so many hopes for. I'm glad you've found some friends who you can share with. That's so important in life.

You seem like a kind and sensitive man and I'm sure you'll put those talents to excellent use in helping others.
Thank you so much. I never realized before how refreshing it can be to hear a few kind words like this. Like feeling a cool breeze on a hot sticky day. Thanks. By the way, I'm female.
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Old 01-09-2008, 09:20 AM
 
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
3,359 posts, read 10,642,922 times
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Well Normie, that's a wonderful picture. Guess I was going on your name. The internet is a fascinating place as we can get a feel for people and make friends yet still not have a clue as to their age, gender, color, nationality, locale, accent, or general appearance that may (or may not) cloud how we would relate to them in face time. I took a class in this when I went back to college and it was fascinating.

Anyway, it's clear you have a very good soul which comes through whatever the medium. The best.
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