Monday, July 25, 2011

Deep Thoughts About Old Folks.......

Front:  Mom.  Back Row (L--R) Cindy, Me, Grandson Clint
Clint and Daughter Diane
Good Monday morning, gentle readers.  I have been away this  weekend with Cindy, visiting my mom in her retirement community near Atlanta.  We departed Knoxville on Friday afternoon and returned home yesterday evening.

Grandson Clint and Son-In-Law Ron
While visiting, my daughter, Diane came to spend a few hours with us, as well on Saturday.  My grandson, Clint, and Diane's husband, Ron, were also in attendance---and we had a blast. 

Had a nice lunch in the formal dining room of the facility, and then repaired to mom's apartment for more convo before Diane and her brood headed back to Augusta, a short 2-hour jaunt to the east.

Las Vegas Night at The Ole Retirement Center!!!
Saturday evening, mom's social calendar included a "Las Vegas/Casino Night" for the elderly residents.  The poster that advertised this event read "What happens here, STAYS HERE!"  Ha.  I certainly hope so, since most of the residents are in their 80s and 90s.  My mom is 88 going on 24.
Cindy (3d From Left) Tries Her Luck at Blackjack


And the Food Was Superb
As the gala night progressed, with wonderful food, gaming tables, and live music featuring Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley and Willie Nelson impersonators, my thoughts began to turn inward and the realization began to settle in that retirement villages such as this one are remarkable places---and for more reasons than one.

"I Lost Her To the Summer Wind..."

"Wise Men Say Only Fools Rush In...."

"I Just Can't Wait to Get on The Road Again..."

First of all, virtually all of the residents know very well that this is most certainly their last "home" on this earth.  My mom says she could never think of it as "home" though.  She says it is a wonderful, comfortable place to live out her days, but she thinks of "home" as the house we lived in for 30-something years as a family, with my dad, brother and me, and all our pets and friends over the years.

These old folks are a strong bunch.  Most of them are single, having lost a beloved spouse years ago.  Some live there as couples, nurturing each other through difficult and illness/afflicted old age.

And yet, with the knowledge that life's end is near and the future uncertain, there is a strength and inner peace to these remarkable people that causes me to admire and marvel.

There is humor, too---if you can call it that---in the daily face of death.

When my mom was notified recently that her friend, "K" had passed away in her apartment at the age of 92, she said:

"Ohhh, no!....I loved "K".  Awww....what a shame". 

Then, after a pause of deep thought, she added this:  "Oh well...that does free up a parking space...."


On the first floor of the facility is a table.   On this small and very important table there is news of the day.  When one of the residents dies (which happens very often in a place like this), a single rose is placed on the table in honor of the deceased.  With the rose, a small obituary is included.  Needless to say, the table is visited by the residents daily as they strive to keep up with the latest passings of their friends.

Recently, a mistake was made.  A bad mistake.  However, in the scheme of things it has been laughed about by everyone.  It seems that management of the facility placed a rose and an obituary column on the table---but the male resident they announced was dead was actually still very much alive.  When news of his passing reached him and his wife, they were pretty shocked.  It was also kind of cool, they said, when his wife began receiving condolence cards from their friends.  Ha.

20 comments:

  1. Oooops! I had to laugh though at the error the staff made, I would think that they'd check his room first before pronouncing him dead!

    You have such a lovely family and your daughter sure looks like her mother!

    I suppose that old folks homes are what each person makes of them, it's not a home I agree but it's a comfortable place... or some of them are. I'm glad to hear that your mom has a good place to live.

    Enjoy your day Clint!

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  2. You did s great job on this post covering our wonderful weekend. You know you are having a bad day when you see your own photo and obituary on The Rose Table! I am glad they could laugh about it.

    (I hope none of the residents passed away from shock when they saw this "deceased" man walking the grounds of the facility!)

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  3. A wonderful post Clint, a good write up and wonderful pics to match. I enjoyed the post very much Thanks for sharing your week-end.
    Yvonne.

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  4. I didnt know there was a mini-Clint!

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  5. Dead man walking...
    Hey, Clint, let's talk about anything else, will we?

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  6. I guess the good thing about being pronounced dead before your time is that you can edit the obituary.
    That sounds like a lovely place.My mom was in one for a while and I was amazed at the entertainment. I was a bit upset when I knew all the words to the old timey songs. Neat post.
    Arkansas Patti

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  7. seems like a very nice place for your mother to stay. she must love it when her family comes to visit.

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  8. Aww, how precious. You give such great respect to this very special group of people. My grandmother passed at the ripe old age of 100 years old and 6 months. She decided that she reached her goal of living 100 years, and figured she was done. I thought for sure she'd live to be 110, but she had other plans. She woke up one morning, went to her garden (her favorite place in the world) and laid down and went on to be with the Lord. She lived by herself (with her .22 under her pillow and shotgun in the corner of her bedroom) til the end, and had her full mind and wits about her. She died peacefully, and with such dignity. I miss her.

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  9. It is really a great post but ups..what a shame with the man...bad mistake. But in Germany they say:

    "If someone say's you are dead, you will still live another 100 years!

    Beautiful day and greetings

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  10. It really is a wonderful blessing in life to have the love and support of family.Blessings, Clint. :)

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  11. Now I'm crying again just thinking about a place like that, wonderful for your wonderful mom but we are having my husband die at home.which one of those pictures was you-Willie?what great fun fr all of you.

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  12. Ya know Clint, I reached "55" PRETTY DERN QUICK" and I am thankful for this post this a.m...to know that even in "the older of old" age to come if the Lord grants me the days...that there is still laughter, love and as you stated about these good people "strength"...sometimes I guess the opportunity to spend the valuable gift of time with regrets or tears over the life that is almost "termed" does come but this group of people that you so wonderfully blogged about inspires me! Today is a gift let it be laced with laughter and love only! BTW I am also "sleepyeyed Rhon" ....I have three blogs I keep up.

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  13. It pays to have a sense of humor and I'm sure the older gentleman did. I'm also glad you had a good visit. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  14. One thing I noticed about the Senior Care Home my Grandmother lived her last days in, was the quiet abandon. Tho they had plenty of activity and bright rooms to live in, why did I notice the sadness about their faces. My Grandmother was vital to the end, passing at 102, shy one month! I still have a very difficult time forgiving my aunt for whisking her out of her home at my Mom's where she was totally independent and so happy, to taking everything from her and putting her in that nursing home. It was such a sad and confusing day for my Grandmother and Mom. Such is greed.
    Bittersweet entry for me...glad your Mom is happy!
    BlessYourHearts

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  15. Yeah! it is like when you want to know who will come to your funeral... hehe... trick them and you will see!

    I'm glad you had a great time!
    Leontien

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  16. A sense of humor gets 'em everytime! I went visiting too this week. Glad you made it home safe and sound!

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  17. Your Mom is adorable she has a glint in her eye of youthfulness. You have a lovely family. I am going to put my name on that list of retirement homes oh except for the mistaking your dead thing it sounds wonderful. B

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  18. This is a good, well written post, Clint, but somehow as I read it, there was a tinge of sadness in my heart. How the old people know it is just a matter of time before they go, and that most of them do not really think of it as "home."

    Thank you for sharing the events of your past weekend. Your grandson Clint is good looking!

    Blessings to you and Cindy... and be sure to keep that blood pressure down!

    Lidj

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  19. Hi Clint -

    This is an enjoyable read. It was a pleasure to read about the golden citizens.

    Love the family photos, too.

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