For as long as I can remember, anytime I have ever come across and elderly person, I have always extended a hand or have sparked up a conversation with them; wether it was on the Toronto Transit Commission (public transit in Toronto), while walking on the street or anywhere I happened to see one, my heart would always feel a little more light-hearted.
I always wonder why this is, knowing how some elderly individuals can be quite grumpy and rude. I have come across some of those, but while it only affected me in those moments, it still has not changed my views and heart about elder people.
I’ll share with you something, that perhaps my limitless tenderness for elder people may root from.
When I was a child, growing up here in Canada, my father’s mother, was still present. She didn’t speak English, was not literate, because her life is a testimony all on its own about what it means to be a sibling, a daughter, and a mother. While all these small disadvantages were present, she was the best cook I have ever met. She was in her way, the most caring through the details of what she did for her family. I wasn’t able to speak to her about her past much, but what she was in rare moments able to share, had an impact in my life.
I recall as a child, I had stayed over at my cousins (my grandmother lived with my uncle), and we were playing outside when the ice cream truck came playing it’s nostalgic music down the street and soon, my cousin and me were running inside to ask my grandmother for change to buy cones. Oh those soft serve they sold, were the best. We had rushed inside, afraid to miss the ice cream truck and right away my cousin had asked my grandmother for change. She always change, never really knowing how much was what, she had my cousin choose. My cousin had only taken enough for herself, shy and uncomfortable I didn’t ask. I was new to Canada, I had yet to build my relationship with my grandmother. I DON’T think I ever did, make one, in time before her mind drifted and failed her.
I remember feeling bad, I wasn’t able to get any and my cousin didn’t share. I was probably ten years old. I was, then again, always have been that kind of kid. I felt bad. It wasn’t my grandmother’s fault though. I didn’t expect her to love me as much as she did my cousin, she was after all there when she was born and helped raised her.
My grandmother had kept a bowl of candies on her dresser. Candies, no one really touched and she would only distribute in moments where distraction was required. Like the time my cousin and I were fighting and she had separated us, and she had sat me on her bed, gave me candy and I thought “wow, she gave me one”.
Those small memories of my moments with her, meant enough to me. Never had the experience of growing up with my own grandparents, the time I had with her was enough to know where my family roots from and how much I appreciated her with whatever, which way she raised her family.
She’s long gone now, passed away several years ago. I still recall visiting her at the old age home, stroking her hair, helping her eat, bringing her flowers and sharing moments with her and my first born. How her face would light up seeing my toddler son, and how she would smile as soon as he came running through the door. She adored little kids. And those are the qualities of grandparents. Their love doesn’t end at their own children, but gets even more amazing when they have grandchildren.
So perhaps, these moments are what keeps my heart ever so forgiving with elder people.
It’s important we love them and care for them, because they have lived a life to give ours, and are the root of our family.
Always thinking of YOU Nay, xo.