Sad Story

17 April 2009
Today has been a day of highs and lows. I first felt amazing with my grade on my physiology final and then when I was studying, I felt perfectly fine. I felt like I really needed to go the retirement center, where I volunteer at least one a week, today. I wasn't planning on going, but I know that it was worth it--even though I feel like crap after going.

Today, I met a brand new lady who just moved into the center. I'll call her Lucille. As, I was waiting to help out with the activity. She walked past the room I'm sitting in three times bawling her eyes out. After the third pass, I walked up to her and started talking to her. At first, she was very standoffish because she thought I was a worker there. Then when she found out that I was just a visitor, she warmed up to me. I asked why she was crying and what I could do to help. She then went into a rant and a rave about how she hated living in the center and how lonely she was. She had only been there for a week and she said that nobody liked her and nobody would visit her. Instead of helping with the activity, I took her for a walk. She ranted and raved the whole time and kept telling me the same things over and over again (I'm pretty sure that she has Alzheimer's) . I sat and listened to her quietly. I felt so bad for her. I wanted to cry with her, but I held back my tears to show her that everything will be okay or at least I hoped so.

I'm not sure if this is true or not, but she told me that her family tricked her into coming to Utah--she was supposed to live with her daughter here. She lived there for a week before they took her to the center. This story wanted to make me cry even more--she felt like a prisoner. After our walk, we went up to her room. I have been in other rooms and they are usually decorated and nice. Her room had a bed and a TV. That was it. Her family really didn't provide her with anything to make her room look nicer. We sat and watched an episode of "I Love Lucy" and then it was time for dinner. I usually go when it's dinner time because I'm not allowed to eat with them, unless I want to pay. I walked her down to the dining room and was telling her goodbye. She then burst into tears again because she said that she didn't want me to leave. I told her that I would stay and I paid for my dinner. It was really good to be there for her. Then when I really had to leave after dinner, I hated telling her that I had to go. I told her about my finals and the test I have to take tomorrow and she grudgingly said goodbye to me. I gave her a big hug and told her that I'd be back to visit her.

I think one good thing came out of me leaving when I did. There was another lady who I'll call Myrna who came up to ask me about this new lady. I introduced them and I think that they went for a walk together--I'm not sure because I left after I introduced them. I hope that they did because Myrna will be a good friend to her and hopefully help her make some friends. I'm glad that I decided to go instead of staying at school and studying because I know that I might have made her life/day/week a little bit better by being there for her today.

I still feel like crap though. I know that I should feel better about doing what I did--I was there for someone who needed me. I have always made that one of my life goals to be accomplished whenever I can because nobody was there for me when I needed them most. I, however, still don't feel good about it. It might be because I'm a lot like her. I sometimes feel like I am a prisoner. I sometimes feel like nobody loves me. I sometimes wish for a better life. I know that I can't change my life and that I have to make the best of it, which I am. I'm preparing for medical school, I'm helping discover new things about HIV, I'm serving others, and I'm living life to the fullest, yet something still feels like it's missing. An integral part of me is missing and I'm not sure what it is.

Anyways, that's my sad story. Back to the books...


Ned said...

Way to follow the spirit, Sean. It could be that most of what you're feeling is just garden-variety stress that goes along with finals. I'm so glad you wrote about your experience. I think you'll look back on it with different eyes at some point. Good luck with your studies and may you be blessed to feel the love that your brothers and sisters here in the blogosphere feel for you.

Bravone said...

Sean, You feel stress and loneliness, but had you not done what you did for this dear lady, you would likely have felt worse. You are what I refer to as a "wounded healer." You reach out in spite of your own trials. This type of service will ultimately bring joy and make you more like our Elder Brother.