A Tosa resident since 1991, Christine walks the dog, cooks but avoids housework, writes and reads, and enjoys the company of friends and strangers. Her job takes her around the state, learning about people's health. A Quaker (no, they don't wear blue hats or sell oatmeal or motor oil), she has been known to stand on both sides of the political and philosophic fence at the same time, which is very uncomfortable when you think about it. She writes about pretty much whatever stops in to visit her busy mind at the moment. One reader described her as "incredibly opinionated but not judgmental." That sounds like a good thing to strive for!
"So how'd it go," I asked Mom.
"It was wonderful. We had so much in common! We just talked and talked and talked. I think we closed the place down."
The "place" was not a restaurant but the dining room at Gabriel's Villa, the assisted living community where Mom now lives.
Some of you know that she had recently been in a nursing home. It was touch and go, and for a while we thought we were going to lose her. But remarkable woman that she is, she rallied. And now she's doing better than she has done in three or four years. She navigates her small but attractive apartment without a walker and is managing a complicated drug regimen. If it weren't for the swollen ankles, she'd feel as good as you can at 87 with a bad heart and arthritis.
One reason for Mom's new zest for life is Inez. The same age as Mom, she also moved into the building a week ago. She's bright, cares about her appearance. Both are widows, still in love with their husbands. Both have two daughters, one near and one far, and nearly enough grandchildren for all the love they have to lavish on them.
Between them was that instant spark that leaps between two people now and then, if you are lucky, that happens with soul mates. Not only the one who is destined to become your partner: a friend. Someone you met at school or in the sandbox before that. At work or on a picket line. Even, it seems, in a "nursing home."
I just got off the phone with one of mine. We met by chance when our daughters spied worthy adversaries and raced across the Sunday school room to wrestle each other to the ground.
Mom's a great adapter. She's adjusted to everything that's come her way with great heart and good attitude. Her last deep friend died 20 years ago. So many other friendships, solid but not quite the same, have been made and then lost to death.
It's so wonderful that she has this chance once more for a friend of the heart.
In life, that makes all the difference.