Archive for May 28th, 2011

Senior Moments

May 28, 2011

A few weeks ago, I held open the door of a McDonald’s in Cloquet, Minnesota, for an elderly man who was shuffling toward it at a glacial pace. When he realized I was holding the door for him, his face brightened and he thanked me as if I were a long-lost friend. He told me he was ninety-three, just a shade older than the 1918 Cloquet fire that laid waste to most of the city. He offered a few more kind words before heading to the counter to place his daily order. I got the impression that he didn’t get to talk to people as often as he would have liked. I found myself wondering if he had outlived most of his friends and loved ones, and if so, what a lonely existence that must be. For a brief moment, I had opened the door to his world and let a bit of sunshine in. I received something of equal value in return: a grateful smile and a genuine moment of human connection.

That encounter triggered a memory from nearly ten years ago. As a hospice volunteer, I do massage on terminally ill patients. One Sunday I (more…)