I met Lois 13 years ago.
She and her friend Floe had signed up for a class I was teaching at our local community college called “Bible for Dummies.”
Lois was 80 years old. Farm wife. She had a couple of hundred chickens/ sold eggs on the side. Sharp mind. Quiet, sweet personality. I remember thinking no way is this lady 80 years old…65 maybe. Floe told me on the side Dave her husband could be a little “overbearing.” Said Lois didn’t get away from the farm much. Hard worker. It was “good she was able to take a break and get away from the farm for a few hours.”
After that class ended, wife and I would occasionally stop by Lois’s farm and buy eggs.
We read in the obituaries a few years ago, Lois’s husband had died. I think we may have gotten eggs from her one time after that. I think of Lois every time I drive by her farm. Christmas night, feeling nostalgic I googled her name to get the address of her farm. I was thinking about dropping her a note. Two addresses came up for Lois. Her place that I knew about and a 2nd local address. It was a care facility. White pages said she was 93 years old.
As I was driving past the exit to the care facility this past Thursday morning I thought, what the heck, I’m going to stop and ask if she lives there. No harm in that.
Walked up to the front door. Doors were locked. Needed a security code to get in. Off to the right, were the instructions and code numbers. Punched them in, sure enough, this time the door opened. Straight ahead was an office with two secretaries and a resident, so I popped my head in the door and asked, “Does a Lois, so- and so lived there?”
The secretary in charge looked at me as shook her head slowly and said “Nope.”
I went on to tell them the details of why I there…It was spur of the moment. Wasn’t even sure she was there, just that the computer said so. Told her about the class Lois was in years before with me. Told them I’d occasionally stop by her house to buy eggs, but it had been a while…
At this point, the secretary does some non-verbal signals with her eyes toward the resident sitting in the chair next to her desk, three feet in front of me….
It was Lois.
I did not recognize her.
Different hair style and her face was puffy. I’m guessing she’d put on 20 pounds.
I asked how long she had lived here? Secretary guessed maybe 3 years.
All this time Lois just sat listening to me banter, then reached up and grabbed my hand…didn’t let go until I left. I looked her in the eyes and asked “Lois, do you remembered me?
“Yes” she said in a quiet voice.
We all had good laugh.
Secretary said she thought I was joking initially.
I’m still processing that little adventure.
I did write Lois a letter last night and pop it in the mail.
For the life of me, I can’t imagine going from the active lifestyle that I have currently… where I can do whatever I want to do, make home-made bread, have a big garden, tend 80 apple trees, build furniture in my wood working shop, ferment sauerkraut, have a dog…..to moving into one room where all of my earthly possessions have to fit.
(And I couldn’t bring my dog).
Libby (our dog)
I watched a friend of ours (Helen) transition from living on her own, to moving into two different care facilities as her health declined…She pulled it off with amazing grace. I’m not so sure I want to wind up like that.
(Not so sure I have too much say in some of those details either.)
Radio DJ Friday morning was talking about her grandmother. Grandmother lived through the depression of 1929-1939. She said her grandmother had a remarkable cheerful disposition, in spite of all she went through. She asked her grandmother how she did it?
Grandmother told her… “It is a choice.”
Would love to hear any thoughts any of you have on this issue of aging, transitioning from one season of our lives to the next.
I am taking notes 🙂 DM