One of my best memories of growing up in a crowded neighborhood in Brooklyn was the ride we took each summer at the end of June.
“When it comes to dying, I’m an amateur. I haven’t done it - I think when I come to it, I will still be an amateur, somewhere between frightened and terrified.” (Sam Keen, Graceful Passages)
After knocking on his door and asking permission to come in, I introduced myself to a new resident at Bishop Wicke Health and Rehabilitation Center, where I serve as the Director of Spiritual Life.
Some years ago we took our nearly teenaged son to the doctor. We did so because he was complaining of aches and pains all over his body.
“I got out of the shower, dried myself off, looked in the mirror, decided I looked good for someone over ninety years old, smiled, got dressed, and started my day.”
There is a wonderful children’s book called God in Between. As with most children’s books, adults would do well to read it.It was written by Sandy Eisenberg Sasso and published by Jewish Lights Publishing in 1998 and is “For People of All Faiths, All Backgrounds.” It is one of the few books I kept when downsizing and moving to a condo. It is the story of a window-less, road-less, overgrown town, and its people who sense something missing in their lives. People are cut off from one another and cannot watch or see anything beyond their own four walls. They sense that if they can find God (whose existence is not certain to them) they might find what they are missing. Much to their surprise they are led to discover that God (the meaning for their lives) is not missing. He, She, It, has always been present, but unseen because they are not connected to each other. They discover that God is found “In the between. In between us.”
“What do you miss the most about being in your home of so many years?” That’s a question I often ask our newer residents when checking in on their adjustment to living in one of our communities at United Methodist Homes. Invariably the answer goes something like this: “I miss getting up, going downstairs, fixing a cup of coffee, enjoying it for awhile, having breakfast, and then going upstairs to wash and dress for the day.” Or, “I miss the daily routines, walking downtown, seeing neighbors, chatting, walking home with some little thing I might want or need during the remaining day.” Along with those comments comes a host of other things of that nature!
The holiday season is about over! For many that is a statement that is said with relief; for others it is said with a sense of wishing it could last a little longer.
By Rev. Jim Stinson, Director of Spiritual Life for United Methodist Homes “It seems as if we’re always saying goodbye.” This comment was shared from a resident in one of senior living communities at our Wesley Village Campus in Shelton, CT. It speaks to an all too common experience of older adults. Inevitably, as we age, more and more of our loved ones and friends precede us in death. It also speaks to a sense of loneliness often found among the aging.
By Jim Stinson
By Jim Stinson “I have a difficult time talking to my mother. We used to have wonderful conversations. But the more her dementia advances, the less intelligent our conversations become. What do I say to her, especially when her sense of reality has changed so much?”