It turns out that your neighbor on the Plane (or the person sitting at the table next to you is a chatty tourist. Do you try to switch seats go for a non-committal brief small talk, or make this person your new best friend?
Shortly after my graduation, I flew to Florida to visit a friend. I boarded the plane and found my seat it was on the right hand side of the back of the plane. I was one seat away from sitting next to the isle. There was a space between me and a short, slender, Korean lady. She had her face and body pressed towards the window as far as she could go. She gave me a glance and then smashed herself back into the window. I sat down and got situated with my music gear preparing for take off. I noticed after I stopped shuffling around. My neighbor, was sniffling and quivering. Was she crying I thought to myself? All I could see was her long, shiny, healthy, black, hair. I figured I better put my headset on and mind my own business. (not typically my style).
After we got up in the air she peeled herself off the seat and told me she had to use the restroom. She had a few Kleenex in her hand waded up when she came back. I could see her watery eyes, her red nose, and another surprise growing in her tummy. I figured this was a sad situation, after about an hour of still hearing her sniffling, catching her breath and quivering. I decided to approach her. I knew it was the right thing to do. If she turned me down I could live with it and have no regrets.
Me: Are you going to be okay
Her: No not for a while
Me: If you would like to talk about it, we can?
Her parents sent her off to college. I can’t recall which one, this has been years ago. I want to say somewhere in Washington D.C They had deposited a check into an account for her to help get by while she was going to school. The amount was insane TO ME. I take they were well off. She then started crying, telling me most of the money was gone. She had met some friends at college and they decided to boycott school and take a few trips. She told me during this time she met someone who was married and basically dated him until she got pregnant then things started going down hill. He disappeared and quit answering her calls, he even changed his number and left the job he had. She was telling me all this and scratching herself all over her body. She said the pregnancy was stretching out her skin and making her itch, she wasn’t able to keep any food down, her clothes were getting to small and she wasn’t happy. She hadn’t told her parents about the money or the baby. She said the only people who knew was herself, the boyfriend and me. She told me she left town after people started asking her if she was pregnant. She sobbed and sobbed as she poured herself out to me. She was looking for someone somewhere to perform an abortion. She said only certain States perform them after a certain amount of months. She was five months, twenty weeks and torn about the decision. She said she could feel the baby moving around inside her and it was basically pulling at her heart-strings. The conversation went around in a circle for most of the flight. I never said much to her because I felt like I was there to listen. I stayed as monotone as I am in this post. When the plane landed she grabbed me and gave me a hug. I hugged her tighter and told her she would be in my thoughts, and she has been for almost twenty years.
My family and I headed down to Texas to see our children (my step children.) The trip went well for a few days considering we not only visit the children but the ex-wife too. I would enjoy explaining the details but when it comes down to it, it would not be right of me. I will tell you. Gabe always enjoys taking the trip and even though at times its uncomfortable for me. I just know (well I hope) Gabe will have something to talk with his siblings about one day.
We try to show them a good time. This time they went swimming, we all went to a 3D movie, out to eat and had two BBQ’s where they played in the yard, sand, pool and trampoline, in hundred degree weather with kids from the neighbor hood. Gabe and all the other kids were dirty from head to toe and bushed by bed time which was fine with us. We were bushed as well.
This was the first time since his divorce he was able to take his daughter back home with us for one week. This was a milestone in my husband’s life. I’m proud of him, happy for my son, but feel a bit sketchy about the relationship between her and I, which I suppose is normal.
If you need an explanation we just didn’t talk much and when asking her a few questions she spoke quietly and brief. We did have one moment where we sang a few songs on smule together (which is a cool Karaoke App.) She also made me chuckle hard when her dad asked her this.
Izz: Yes Daddy
Steven: Do you want to visit Lincoln Tomb while you’re here
Izz: No, sorry dad I don’t do good at old mens grave sites….
First of all this blog will not be as short as I would like or you would like? There is no way around it. One day I would like to be a brevity writer…
This last year at my job we have lost lots of residents. Some have moved and some have passed away, either way it’s been tearful. One particular resident who recently passed had been at the home for as long as I can remember. (I have been there fourteen years almost.)
We called him “Jack” because he favored “Jack Nicholson” right up to his brows and wrinkles on his forehead. “Jack” stayed cranky most of the time and was plucked out by a few of the residents for target practice. One lady resident he particularly couldn’t stand. When “Jack” would yell out like he did in the dining-room. (most mornings) she would be the first to tell him to “shut up no one wants to hear your mouth.” One morning as she walked past his table after yelling at him she said “toodles Jack” he sat back in his chair slowly and nicely told her “have a rotten day.”
This was what I loved about “jack” he pulled no stops when it came to how he felt about people and when SOME of our residents would make snide remarks to him. He never backed down. He had a rival lets call him “Charlie Chaplin” for his protection and also there mustaches are similar. When “Chaplin” was able. He would go around the tables in the dining-room collecting the “clothing protectors” he was gathering up the “protectors” from a table which put “Chaplin” directly behind “Jack” (remember my residents are blind…) “Jack” wings his “protector” backwards and it landed perfectly over “Chaplin’s” head and being the nurse on duty I yelled “jack” why did you do that? “Jack” says “Shelley I’m in the ball throw for special olympics and I was practicing!! He wasn’t trying to be funny either it came out that way because even though he was an adult he was childlike grown up but not… If you catch my drift?
“Jack’ walked on a walker most of the time. The last few years he became short of breath and walked with a limp and grimaced as he did so. He didn’t once complain or tell us he was having trouble with these things. WE noticed he was struggling. When we confronted him, his response was “What The Hell Are You Talking About” (God I miss that man) we got him seen and he was ordered a wheelchair that we never once pushed until the man was near death.
“Jack” was a Cubs fan and also had a hard time hearing. I’m not a huge baseball fan but was born and raised around the cubs my entire life. My dad is a die-hard, my husband is too and most of the residents at the home are. You could always hear the ball game from “jacks” room because he blared it up so high. When they would win he would yell Cubs WIn Cubs Win! automatically I’d think to myself WOO HOO WOO HOO because I knew my father and husband were happy as well. I long for the day the Cubby’s when the series’ and hope my dad lives to see it. It is on my bucket list and I hope to be sitting right next him.
A week before “Jack” passed away “Make a wish Foundation” notified our home. They asked if there was anything they could do before “Jack” died? “Jack didn’t know he was passing untill his last night here on earth. So our boss told them he was a Cubs fan and that if the announcer could just mention his dedication to the Cubs and where he was from, we thought that would be enough. Sure enough the night I was on duty taking care of him. He was all geared up in his Cubs wear telling me all about what they’d said on the radio. The whole night he repeated the broadcast over and over again.
I got to spend a night with “Jack” right before his transition and he fought a good fight right up to the end. Even though he couldn’t talk anymore. Whenever I told him I was getting ready to give his meds or wipe his mouth, his eyebrow would raise up and he would do his best to help me. It was slight but I noticed it. I walked away that morning knowing I wouldn’t see him when I clocked back in and things have been different ever since then.
If you follow me the other day I put a picture up. One of my residents and I coming back from the doctor. My residents have taken me places that I only hope that you can get a hint of in my writing. When time allows there will be more. It has been here where my soul has grown and I can’t help but watch the wondering ways people drive by or hear about the people in our home and not stop to get a little piece of heaven.
Hope for Today will inspire you to live a life connected to Christ by empowering you to fall in love with Jesus through personal spiritual growth. Teaching you the power of your identity and authority in Christ. Encouraging you in your inheritance as an ambassador for the kingdom of God!