For as long as I can remember, seniors, beginning with my great-grandparents, have held a special place in my heart. I work part-time at a residential, senior living community, they are all dear to me, even the sometimes fussy, cranky ones. (We all have good days and bad)
I have met many and given the type of work/play this is, I have observed their physical lives come to an end. For some, a long, slow release, others, very sudden. All hold a very special place in my heart for as many different reasons as there are stars in the heavens.
One day a couple, about my age, came into the community with their young adult son, I recognized the young man and his mother immediately. I’ve seen them in passing at the high school my children attend. Since I have a child with Autism, I recognized immediately, this young man has Autism as well although he is a little bit older than our Connor. I was thrilled to see them and eager to find out who they were visiting.
After a short inquiry, she mentioned she was there to assist her dad in moving things out of her grandmother’s apartment. My heart immediately filled with such love for this woman standing in front of me as if I had always known her. “Do you mean, “Mary Smith”? (not her real name) Yes, she said, that is my grandmother. How had I not met her before? I’ve worked at this place for four years, albeit only part-time. I was amazed this “connection” had not been made before.
“Mary Smith” always made me smile. She was always very well put together, often wearing lovely cardigan sets, matching pants and a low but classy heal, pearls, dressed to the nines. Elegant is the perfect word for her. She would walk by my desk on her way to dinner. I would mention how lovely she looked and she ALWAYS either shook her hips or kicked back a leg while holding onto her walker, leaving me with a smile on my face. I never had the opportunity to speak at length with “Mary Smith” because she was hard of hearing, even with a hearing aid(s) in place. Smiles, kind glances and short saucy exchanges were experienced and always left me smiling.
Seeing her granddaughter and her great-grandson who happens to have Autism, in that moment, I knew this was “Mary” showing me/us she is still with us and all around us. We never made the “Autism” connection while she was alive but she made certain the connection was made nonetheless.
This short and sweet connection left me floating. It left me with a knowing, our beloveds are always with us, guiding us, sharing love with us, acting as the “concierge in the sky”. We only need to open our hearts and minds to see the connection. As the family of my senior friend left the community for the last time, my heart was so full at this lasting connection to “Mary”.
Most importantly I wish for you to know I am a mom and I am beautifully human which means, some days I am on my game, others, I am not. I use my knowledge and inner knowing, which we all have but have forgotten or haven't honed to facilitate awareness for all who are looking for a deeper understanding, appreciation and JOY. LIFE, is supposed to be FUN. As a parent of a child diagnosed with Autism, I counsel and guide ALL moving beyond words.