Friday, January 25, 2013

what ive learned from family.

the past few days have been extremely meaningful for me. nothing extravagant has happened... nothing to magically change my mood or alter my life in any extreme way. i've been searching and looking for ways to connect with others more intentionally, and it's kicking my tail to say the least. 

i always have said that family is the most important thing in my life. my older relatives have an extremely special place in my heart... you can easily find tears in my eyes when i talk about how much they mean to me and how my heart breaks that many of them have passed away without me getting more time with them that i wanted. [[here's an example of a blog that tore my heart up to write. it's about a relative who passed away who meant so much to me: uncle bedell]]

 all of that to say, i try and talk to them and learn as much as i can from them. for example, i spent my thursday night last night "workin' a puzzle" with my mammaw (84) and great aunt helen (90). these women are sharp, intelligent, wise, and hilarious. it's extremely hard for me to ever pass up an opportunity to spend time with them and gain from what they have to say. i think after living almost a century, they have some thoughts on the world i'd love to hear. they also are both widows, and hearing them talking about their husbands fills my heart and breaks it at the same time. they are incredible. 

ive learned so much from my older relatives, and i try so hard to keep hold to what they've taught me. i'm learning that it's more than just life lessons, though... im trying to take what i feel for them and give it to others. i had an experience this morning at the doctor's office that i think would make them proud....

 i was running late for my appointment and was in a huge hurry to get to this receptionist's desk. an older woman with a cane was ahead of me, and a woman behind the counter told her to fill out some paperwork before her appointment. The elderly woman said, "Well, that'll be pretty hard for me. I've got Parkinson's and can barely write." My heart broke as I was instantly reminded of my great uncle who passed away from that same disease and hurt even more when the receptionist said, "Do your best" and sent the woman on her way. I went up and got my piles of paperwork and saw this woman sitting down attempting to fumble with her pen to fill out hers.... 

i thought about my mammaw, aunt helen, and uncle bedell... thoughts flooded my mind actually. i went and sat next to this sweet lady and said, "I overheard what you said up there. If you'd like, I'd be happy to write this out for you. I know it's kind of personal with all these medical questions, but I would really like to help out." The biggest look of relief came over this woman's face as she graciously accepted my offer, and we began to learn a lot about each other. We fumbled through insurance cards, social security numbers, family history of diseases (we got to know each other really well), and lots and lots of questions. 

she was so thankful. i was so thankful. i felt like i was helping family... i would want someone to do the same for my family members and felt so gracious that i was able to help this woman today.

while we were waiting after the paperwork was all finished, i got to learn about her life. she had been a widow for almost 20 years and lived alone out in Van Buren. She talked about her kids, her marriage, and her constant moving around the country and the world with her husband who was in the Army. we talked about her son who passed away and how i felt connected to her because of my great uncle having Parkinson's and mammaw who is just 3 months younger than her. 

Miss Artie helped me see today that I'm not too busy to do the right thing... it didn't ruin my schedule or even my day. i did a simple thing for her that probably changed her whole day and hopefully made her feel more connected... but more than that, it changed me. it helped me see that my family has taught me well and my heart followed through on a need i saw right in front of my eyes... that talking with an 84 year old woman about life in a waiting room can be extremely meaningful and uplifting. i felt like i was giving back because of the tender heart ive had for my older relatives, and today im extremely grateful that i took a small risk to offer my help and connected with a woman who is so different but really so much like me. Miss Artie taught me a lot about life today.

im thankful.
carrie anne


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