Waiting rooms are funny places. They are confined areas with very little privacy, making it too easy to overhear conversations you would normally avoid.
It was in one of these waiting rooms that I overheard such a conversation.
Sue Glover is a wife and mom and a member of North Pointe’s Writers Group. The group’s purpose is to help support aspiring writers of all ages and stages in a monthly meeting. This true story is Sue’s first published piece. We’re proud of her.
Two elderly gentlemen (one stated that he had just turned 88) happened to meet after not seeing each another for a good number of years. It started out as the type of conversation I would ordinarily tune out as they began to catch up on old times and I continued to wage war against the evils of solitaire on my phone.
They discussed how one of them still curls two times a week (although he has to be careful of his knee) and the other still likes spicy food when he cooks (although he doesn’t eat as much fish as he should).
But then the conversation turned, and I could not help but listen as one of the men spoke.
His wife had passed away 12 years ago to the day (in 45 minutes, to be exact). He knew the precise details as he recounted the day’s events.
She had asked him to get some paper for her out of the closet. She had been picky as to which paper, and they had joked together about her being particular. She attributed it back to her days as a teacher. That was the last time they spoke. He remembered being in the hospital and the nurse telling him her kidneys were shutting down, and that it was the end.
Every specific detail of that day was firmly etched in his memory.
My mind wandered as the men continued to reminisce, moving the conversation back to knees and fish and who ate what over the recently passed holiday. I sat in my own bubble of contemplation as I thought about how fragile life is, and how you never really know when a conversation with a loved one will be your last.
And just as I was about to get overly sentimental about what I had, or hadn’t, said to my husband as I left home that morning, the conversation at hand drew me back in.
Courage, Optimism and Adventure
The gentleman had a new lady friend. They liked to go for walks together as they lived on the same street.
It made me realize that life carries on. Through the good and the bad, life continues.
We can spend our time stuck in the past and what was, or what could have been; or we can move on and continue to live.
We can mourn the past and let our losses consume us, or we can curl twice a week, eat minimal quantities of fish, and take walks with people that make us smile.
I hope I choose the latter.
I hope I will look back on my life and remember it all, the good and the not so good, with the finest of details; but face each new day with courage, optimism and adventure.
The two men shook hands, wished each other well and parted ways. I realized that my solitaire game had long since faded.
I sat in the now quiet waiting room and was secretly thankful for conversations that cannot be avoided.
APPLICATION: Please leave a comment for Sue below. The next Writers Group meeting is Monday February 29th at 4:30pm. You are welcome to attend. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to secure your seat at the table.
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