Remember that elderly person that lived in your neighborhood? The one who maybe you found annoying. You would try to skip past their house as you walked, jogged or were out with your dog. Maybe you were in a hurry to get somewhere, but whenever you passed they would see you, want to stop you for some chit-chat. So you would try avoid their house. It was as if they could smell you coming by, they knew your routine… And now I get it.

It’s not that they were creepy or nosy or busy bodies… they weren’t stalking you. They were just watching and waiting. I know, it still sounds creepy. But…

Now I get it.

Chances are they lived alone. Their spouse had passed on. They might be confined to their home for lack of driving or transportation. They did the same things every day, at the same time, without fail. 

And now I get it. 

They were looking forward to someone passing by on a regular basis, like clock work, to help pass the time. To have someone to talk to. 

And now I get that. 

My father had a stroke, and multiple mini strokes. He was confined to being home after that. I was raising 3 children under the age of 7, and still he would call me every day, all the time, and want to chat, for what felt like forever. He would call my mother-in-law, and every person he could. I would talk as long and as much as possible but, sad to say, I remember asking my mom to get him to cut it back. I’m just being real. Yes I did. She said she didn’t know what she could do. She was still working full time. I regret being self-centered but she didn’t complain. 

And now I get it. 

Why do I get it? Because even though I consider myself young at 61, that’s me now!

I try to settle into a new routine that basically just involves me. I can change it up anytime, but I understand them now.

They’re lonely, they have no one to talk to at home. But when they find someone, it breathes a little life back into them. And we listen, take a deep breath and think, “there’s ten minutes I’ll never get back.” But you gave them ten more minutes of life… and you didn’t even know it. 

And now I get it. 

I find if I text someone, I can have a full blown conversation with them but then I have to mentally disconnect from texting or else I could go on and on and on. I try not to appear at all like I’m desperate for any kind of conversations. I realize their lives are busier than mine and I don’t want them to see the next text and say “Aw jeez, now what?”

But I understand why that elderly neighbor might need the conversation, and why my dad did. Now I get it.

I look outside our house a lot. It’s winter, too cold to be outside, but I can’t continuously look at the walls of our house… our “cottage,” as Steve and I would often call it. I love it so much, it gives me comfort and it’s my new world – maybe because I feel closest to Steve here. Maybe that’s why most elderly don’t like going into a care facility. 

Now I get it.

I always look for things going on in the neighborhood. I hear a chainsaw or machinery and wonder where the action is. I’m also a free security service! I’m not nosy, but that’s all I have. And now I get it.

I look and wait for the mail to be delivered. The truck has a familiar and particular sound. I get excited, even though I have the app and can check what is going to be delivered to me today – I was someone’s priority today. Thank you USPS! 

And now I hope everyone has gotten it. 

What if you were the last person that they talked to on your walk? Or the last person they set eyes on with visual contact, just being friendly… 

I was the last person Steve laid eyes on and the last to see him alive. I was the last to talk to him. 

Now I get it. 

So, when that individual, whether young or old, friendly or otherwise, no matter what they say or their tone, they may have been to emotional places where you haven’t or have yet to experience.

I hope now you get it, too.

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