Saturday, May 4, 2013

Marg’s place was empty

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Marg’s place was empty

Each Thursday my Mom and I attend the “New Friends” group at a senior’s residence in Peterborough.  Along with the 3 ‘regulars’ that come along there are new people that join us. These new folk perhaps moved in over the past few weeks or months.

“New Friends” is a simple program that allows lots of interaction.  I am the founder of this dynamic little group that has become an important part of the life of these seniors.

Most important for me is that my Mom looks forward to getting there each week. It is a community link outside her normal contacts.

Last week was hard for me.

As usual, I set the two tables side by side and then placed the chairs around the tables. One lady sits to my right across the table.  Then my mother on my left with another chair to her left. Then there was an open spot for ‘Marg’.  ‘Marg’ is almost blind and in her wheel chair, but an active participant for the last three years. ‘Marg’ is 97 years old.

As the folks came in again I explained the places that I wanted them to sit in, leaving room for ‘Marg’ who may come down a little later.

The lady that usually sits beside ‘Marg’ stated that we don’t have any ‘Marg’ in our group.  I looked at her puzzled at her matter of fact statement.

Then she said “‘Marg’ passed away two weeks ago.”  My mouth kind of dropped open. I had not heard… and no one had told me. Thud!  The information landed unexpectedly. Ouch.

It was a bit clumsy, my recovery, as they all watched me.

It was also not unexpected.  ‘Marg’ had told me that she didn’t want to live any longer. She was ready to die. All of her friends were dead and she had no purpose to go on. “I can’t understand why I wake up each morning and I am still alive!?” was her last statement to us three weeks ago.

Working with these seniors has a terminal limit.  Eventually they all leave us one by one.

It is hard for the ones that are left behind.  In their outside world all their old friends are gone. In this new inside world at the senior’s residence new alliances and friendships are made. And in New Friends they have laughed together, cajoled one another, explained an idea to one another and the most important shared their life stories with each other.

‘Marg’ told us of her life experiences and we had laughed with her at the funny parts.

Now ‘Marg’ is gone and the space that ‘Marg’s’ wheel chair had taken up was empty.

But not empty for long.  While they were telling me about what happened to ‘Marg’, Anne rolled up in her wheel chair and filled in ‘Marg’s’ place.

Life goes on… and there are sad moments as well as the delight of new laughter.

Bless you ‘Marg’ – we will miss you.

~ Murray Lincoln ~

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