I attended a dinner event this week and the person who intrigued me the most was seated right next to me. Her name is Dorothy. She is 80-years-old. I watched her mannerisms as she engaged in conversations. She was very quiet, with a sweet disposition. I could tell by her kind blue eyes that she has seen and accomplished a lot in her day. Dorothy is one of those delightful older women that I would love to talk about life with, as we sit in a rocking chair. I would ask her about her youth, some of her fondest memories, and maybe try to get her to share one of her favorite baking recipes. All of these thoughts ran through my head as everyone at the table was engrossed in their conversations.
Then I wondered why I am drawn to either young kids or elderly people. Why do I seem to have this “old soul” that allows me to connect with the very old and the very young? As the evening proceeded, I continued to find myself drawn to this sweet woman to my right. A few minutes before we were ready to leave, I learned that dear Dorothy is on dialysis. Did I subconsciously know this and that is why I was so intrigued by her?
We immediately connected and talked about our personal stories. She is on chemo and dialysis. It saddened me to look at this 80-year-old woman sitting next to me knowing that this is how she will live the remainder of her years. I look back and think that I was 18-years-old when I had my first dialysis treatment and Dorothy was 80-years-old when she had her first dialysis treatment.
She and I are on opposite ends of the dialysis perspective, yet kindred spirits. Dorothy has lived her whole life and is now experiencing this. I endured dialysis before my kidney transplant and now, hopefully, I have a long life ahead of me to live and enjoy. With all of the medical issues I have endured and will continue to, I can only hope that I will live to see 80.
We talked about our doctors, medicine, and the side effects that we deal with. How precious every healthy day is; how wonderful the simple pleasures are in life. She expressed how it seems like all she is doing is going to the doctors and how it can be overwhelming. I sympathized with that and shared with her that my concern is the long-term side effects of all of the medicine that I consume. However, I also shared with her–and reminded myself–that I stay focused on today and do not focus on “what if’s” of years to come.
A fun part of life are the paths that we cross and the people we meet along the way. Each special person I have met throughout my journey has made me a better and wiser woman. Dorothy reminded me tonight that we should never feel alone. There is always someone out there that is going through the same obstacles in life, if not worse. And they may even be sitting right next to us.