Monday, August 9, 2010
BEAUTIFUL WORDS FROM A STRANGER
I would have narrated what transpired in full but decided not to. Because I want to direct your attention to what this wonderful old lady said. Her words kept ringing in my ears long after she had gone and I was back home in the house.
Well, I sat at one of the chairs lining the wall opposite the receiving counter. We were inside the parish office of this particular church. My daughter was talking with the clerk in charge of records when a heavy pleasant looking lady came in and approached the same counter wanting to buy a mass card for her dear departed. She was attended to by another clerk while all the time through the process she was carrying on a monologue about parents and children. It seemed like a monologue to me because I noticed that the employee simply did nothing but smile.
But I liked what she said although I didn't know what prompted the nice lady to speak on the subject as I heard no questions asked of her by anyone in the room. Anyway here's what she said.
"I tell my children to make the most of time spent with me. I tell them to buy me the prettiest of flowers, take me to the nicest places, treat me to the best dishes, and see me everyday. Everyday. I tell them to make everyday special while they can and while I am here able to enjoy it all.
They should not wait for later or tomorrow or next month. They should not leave me to the maids to care for my needs or when I am sick. They should not buy me things to silence or entertain me because they are too busy to ever give me their time. They should call me on the phone or write me letters or text me --- they should talk to me. They should ask about me at every chance they get. Find out if I am well or not, have eaten or not, happy or not, or ask me if I want some ice cream or 'chicharon bulaklak'! (a local delicacy) Or maybe want to take a nice long walk in the park. It feels so good when they see me as a person and not as a figure close to extinction.
I don't need flowers when I'm gone; I want them all now. Now where I can smell it, appreciate it, hold it in my hand, kiss its smooth petals, put it in a vase so that I can gaze at it all day. I want those flowers now offered with their hands because it is now that I want to feel their love, see their smiles, enjoy their presence, and relish the idea of being treasured and adored and made to feel that I exist wonderfully in their lives -- all that and more as it warms every beat of my aging heart.
Don't bring me flowers when I'm gone -- I don't need it. Bring me flowers today --- I want it."
Her name? Letty. An amazing lady! She meant to impress on her listener, the clerk, (apparently an unwilling listener lols) that the aging of a member of the family should not be an excuse to break down the family unit in pockets of isolation. The family should always stand connected with one another, supportive with one another -- all these and more in the midst of the pressures of our modern world.
And because life is short...
she meant to say that we with our families should TREASURE ONE ANOTHER WHILE WE MAY. And why she said -- "Don't bring me flowers when I'm gone. Bring me flowers TODAY."
I am hoping that she will be understood in that light. She's one amazing and remarkable lady, no matter that I've just met her and in such a brief and yet precious encounter. Beautiful words from a stranger!