101 Years Old And Memories Are Vivid

Which good memories are better — the recent and vivid ones, or those that time has covered in a sweet haze?

I’ve written before about our elderly neighbor, Lucille. Back in February she experienced another fall; her fourth in as many years.  She’s been in a nursing home since then and a few weeks ago told us that she’s going to stay there permanently–she won’t be coming home.  During her recovery we’ve gone to see her just about every weekend.  Most of the time my husband and I make our visits together, but today since Steve was working, I went by myself.

When I arrived it was lunch time, so many of the residents were in the dining area; two rooms that otherwise would be larger were it not for the fleet of wheelchairs surrounding the tables.  Normally, visitors are not in the dining room so there are no “spare” chairs for guests.  I found a chair in an unoccupied office and rolled it over to sit down next to Lucille.

There were six women sitting around the table, a few were able to enjoy their food with no help from the volunteers serving the meals. At least one simply would have nothing to do with the plateful of mashed potatoes, vegetables and pork.  When the meal was done, including the tiny bowls of canned apricots served for dessert, the ladies sit and socialize a bit.  They wanted to know who I was, how did I know Lucille, what about my family…pretty typical questions.

The woman sitting next to me woman needed help with her apricots, she asked me to cut them smaller so she could pick them up with her fork.  Lucille leaned over my shoulder to tell me that the woman celebrated her 101st birthday last week.  As I congratulated her she said, “I feel good, not old.  But I don’t know why God’s put me here for so long.”  I asked if she had any children:  “Two beautiful daughters, one a nurse and one a teacher, both very good girls who worked hard and saved their money.  They’re in their 60’s and have beautiful children of their own.”  She went on to tell me that she had only two children because after the second, delivered by cesarean, the doctor told her that she couldn’t have any more babies.  The memories of childbirth and raising her girls were vivid, even now.

Next to her on the table when I sat down, were a set of rosary beads, jet black ovals with silver findings and cross. When she finished her apricots she wrapped the rosary around her wrist a few times, then reached into the pocket of her pink sweater and placed another rosary on the table.  I looked at them and remarked, “how beautiful, where did you get them?”  A priest, who’d she’d “been very good to–giving him money for the church”, brought the beads back from Italy as a Christmas gift.

pink beadsThe pink Cloisonné rosary beads had a link missing.  The woman said that her daughter, the one who’s good with a pliers, fixes it for her when she visits.  I picked up the beads to take a closer look and was able to find a way to reconnect the pieces in between two of the beads.  She promised to say a rosary for me later today.

Until today I’d never met someone 101 years old.  I was amazed at how much she was able to recall, her memory seemed quite good.  She smiled broadly and genuinely when she talked about her children and her church.  And, oh, how she likes to pray!  I think I know why God put her on earth for so long, and I told her:  It was so I could meet her!

Thoughts on Memories:




3 thoughts on “101 Years Old And Memories Are Vivid

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