At birth, we boarded the train and met our parents and we believe they will always travel on our side. However, at some station, our parents will step down from the train, leaving us on this journey alone.
As time goes by, other people will board the train and they will be significant: our siblings, friends, children and even the love of your life. Many will step down and leave a permanent vacuum. Others will go so unnoticed that we don’t realize they vacated their seats.
This train ride will be full of joy, sorrow, fantasy, expectations, hellos, goodbyes, and farewells. Success consists of having a good relationship with all passengers requiring that we give the best of ourselves.
The mystery to everyone is: we do not know at which station we ourselves will step down. So, we must live in the best way: love, forgive, and offer the best of who we are. It is important to do this because when the time comes for us to step down and leave our seat empty, we should leave behind beautiful memories for those who will continue to travel on the train of life.
I wish you a joyful journey on the train of life. Reap success and give lots of love. More importantly, thank God for the journey. Lastly, I thank you for being one of the passengers on my train.
– Author Unknown
The above was sent to me by my dear friend, Anita. She was thanking me for being a passenger on her life’s train. But, here’s the thing: it’s reciprocal. Because without Anita, surely I wouldn’t be here.
Anita is a dear friend of 30+ years that I met in my insurance career. Although we never worked for the same company at the same time, our paths crossed often because of mutual friends and we saw each other, off-and-on, throughout the years. Several years ago, Anita left the insurance sector and opened her own business, catering to seniors.
I really believe that God or the universe keeps watch over me by putting things in my hands at optimum moments. And, one of those crucial “moments” has been my elder care journey. When I was spinning out-of-control trying to manage the affairs of 5 of my elderly relatives – all aging at the same time, all having health crises at the same time, all having overwhelming emotional needs at the same time – I remembered that Anita had opened her own business catering to this segment of our population. I reached out to her and she said yes. She would help.
Since that time 3 and a half years ago, Anita has been my angel as well as an angel to my parents and my mother’s twin sister. She has been by my side through thick and thin, during good times as well as during major crises.
A kind, gentle soul with the ability to communicate effectively with elders, she’s had a meaningful impact on my life. She’s intervened with doctors, nurses, health care workers, social workers, caregiving organizations and caregiving staff – all when it was physically impossible for me to be there in person. Or, she has worked beside me packing seniors to move and unpacking them in their new homes, all the while lending her gentle, calming demeanor to the chaos that surrounded us.
In addition, she has provided loving support to my parents during a time when they are at their most vulnerable and unable to manage without assistance.
In the opening paragraph above, I wrote “because without Anita, I surely wouldn’t be here”. To elaborate, without her, surely I would have had a nervous breakdown or worse. The needs of my elders have been great – greater than one person alone can manage. And, she’s my rock, my sounding board and my angel.
Thank you, Anita, for being one of the passengers on my train.
Until next time,
P.S. The photo above is the 1907 steam locomotive at the Poway-Midland Railroad Museum in Old Poway Park in Poway, California (San Diego County). Charlie and I visited there recently on a beautiful summer day and the museum was closed. However, volunteers were there that day and they graciously let us in for a tour and I took this photo of the train inside the museum (thus the backlighting).
(other posts from The Elder Care Diaries)
- A Gifted Man
- A Month of Sundays
- Both Sides of Clouds
- Eldercare’s Blackhole
- High Flight
- Many a Winding Turn
- Murphy’s Law
- Pictures at an Exhibition
- Requiem for My Father
- Running on Empty
- Senior Advocacy: What Adult Children Can Do to Help Their Aging Parents
- The Best of the Rest of Your Life
- The Gift
- The Sunshine Gang