Friday, October 28, 2016

FINDING EMPATHY

em·pa·thy
ˈempəTHē/
noun

the ability to understand and share the feelings of another

I volunteer a bit with the elderly. I started in 1994 after Mr. Ralph's mom passed away.  She was lucky enough to have friends (neighbors, church friends, relatives) who offered her help when the need arose.  She lived in a pretty small town in Indiana (population 18,000 and most of that has been in the past 15 years) where people knew each other and chatted and share news, happy or sad.  She remained independent in her own apartment.

It's important for all of us to have empathy when our seniors begin losing some of their daily independence.  Driving. Cleaning the corners of the kitchen floor.  Carrying out the trash.  Doing laundry at the laundromat. Even getting out of the house.

Ms. Phyllis just loves having her own personal driver.  I drive her to doctor or dentist appointments.  Groceries and prescriptions.  The bank. Usually to include lunch.  And then I realized we never got together for just FUN.  Now that I am moving back to Oregon, there are a few touristy things I'd like to redo.  

I asked her if she'd like to go for a drive.  Her eyes just lit up!  The island is our only limit!!  She couldn't come up with any ideas so I just started a stream of consciousness of places to go and things to see.  Last week we drove north to Ho'okipa where the water toys appear when the surf is up.  It was so crowded and busy and exciting and we were both thrilled.  On Thursday we drove to a little cowboy town (Makawao) part way up our mountain of Haleakala.

Just for fun.  No errands.  Empathy for the small things we take for granted when someone has to give up driving.

Just for un.

9 comments:

  1. Just for fun indeed. We are all looking at loss of independence sooner or later. If we don't have children or friends close by, we will have to depend on the kindness of someone like you. What a great why to help. Sometimes a friend with a helping hand is all that's needed to make someone's day/life better. I know that Ms. Phyllis will miss you.

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    1. Ms. Phyllis is a very lively young 80 year old who will attract a volunteer again! She is busier in one day than I am in a week!!

      It's the little things in life ... almost always

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  2. How nice of you! Your friend is really going to miss you when you move.

    Having to give up driving is a major transition for all of us. When my dad had to do it, I became his driver for everything including dates with his girlfriend. That was awkward. LOL

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    1. Not sure I could drive my Dad on dates!!! LOL!!!

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    1. Thanks. A "young" lady I volunteered with in Portland had never been to McDonalds! So we went through the Drive Thru and then had a picnic. It's ALWAYS the little things ...

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  4. Your empathy is wonderful - to see her eyes light up, and yours too, I bet Those trips must be few and far between in old age; but a fun pal can be even harder to come by. Good on you, AW!

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    1. Gal pals are great! Taking another lady I met through Na Hoaloha on a drive tomorrow ... beautiful all along the ocean to the town of Lahaina ... where the cruise ships come in. People watching at it's best!

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  5. I love your empathy. It's a trait I've admired in you since we met! Thank you for sharing such a simple thing to do--so easy and yet it means so much to those who need just that little extra help!

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