One of the joys of growing older is that you have more chutzpah to say what you want to say.
One of the sorrows is that you may not have anyone around to listen to you.
Or few who want to hear what you have to say, worse yet.
Too much chutzpah, ya know!
They say a true friend is one who knows all about you and loves you anyways.
Well, sometimes that true friend just might be your housekeeper!
‘Cause sometimes she knows an awful lot about you.
Yep. The things you leave out on your nightstand. The bills flung out on the tabletop.
Listening lady has learned to lock her lips! Loose lips still sink ships.
I’ve even been offered money once by a husband who just wanted me to listen to his wife.
I kid you not. Just keep her company for a bit. Now that’s not a bad proposition, eh
Leaning in and listening is a sure way to gain a friend in the senior community.
Wow, can you ever learn about life, too!
All you have to do is ask a few caring, simple questions. Nothing nosy.
Life as they lived it fifty years ago was way different and yet so much the same. People loved and hated.
Things happened, and their lives were never the same afterwards.
Recently a senior client of mine visited her dying ex-husband.
After years of not ever mentioning his name to me, she finally told me how sorry she felt for him.
The regret was written all over her face. All because I asked a simple question, “How did your trip go?”
I reminded myself that no grudge, no disagreement is worth that searing look of deep regret. Keep short accounts, sweetie.
Forgive. That’s golden.
Another simple question I often ask is just, “How are you doing?”
If you ask and mean it, one day you’re going to stopped in your tracks at the answer you get.
My tough, capable, live-by-herself lady blurted out with tears in her eyes that she was just diagnosed with Parkinson’s.
I was instantly transported back to my grandparent’s kitchen ten years earlier.
We were joking and loving the rare visit minus the three thousand miles usually between us.
Suddenly Grandpa sobered up. “Your Grandma’s got Parkinson’s, you know.”
I didn’t know. I couldn’t then understand the long road of slow, crippling, painful dying process that is Parkinson’s.
Within ten years she was gone, but oh, it was a heart-rending process! I still bleed inside thinking about it.
My tears joined my client’s that day. It was needfully good for me to know that Parkinson’s had invaded her life.
Now I know to help her with different chores that are getting too hard for her, chores she would never mention.
I watch her increasingly unsteady gait and wonder; how long can she keep up this fiercely independent living?
Her house in the woods, her gardens, her beloved dogs?
Being the listening lady, I’m deeply glad I can learn from her journey and help her enjoy living out her days in peace.
Now, remember the husband who wanted to pay me to listen to his wife?
I couldn’t bring myself to take money for that. My shingle does not say — Cobweb Katie, Listening Lady!
Naturally I do listen.
I clean and listen to her at the same time. I hope I don’t get amnesia and clean the exact same spot fifty times as she chatters.
She often takes the same trip down memory lane with me.
Maybe his ears are tired after sixty-some years of blessed matrimony.
Mine are still not weary of hearing her say — Every. Single. Month.
“It’s a great life if you don’t weaken!”