When my husband and I built a smaller home, we asked the architect to create a special nook for my Grandmother’s glass-front china cabinet which has been in the family since the late 1800’s. For years it held hand-painted china and my Mother’s depression glass collection. Now its shelves are filled with treasures from older adults who have enriched my life.
Oh sure, there are special family items– my Grandad’s shaving brush and my Grandmother’s manicure set. There’s my Mother’s jewelry box and WWII memorabilia that belonged to my Dad. But alongside the collection of family treasures, there are also letters and handmade gifts from older adults who became my friends late in their lives. Most were either residents of the retirement community where my parents once lived or were residents of one of the assisted living centers where I visit weekly. Each of these older persons was at least 85 years old when we first became friends.
Among the special items, there’s a crocheted bookmark and a tissue paper Valentine, a hand-beaded Christmas tree and an original poem. Every time I pass by the china cabinet, I am reminded of these special people and the important life lessons they taught me in the last years of their lives.
And so I have to ask. Is your life enriched by having older adult friends, not just your aging relatives? Do you have at least one friend who is 85 years old or older? No? May I suggest you get one? You will be blessed.