Sunday, November 27, 2005

The Worst Part of my Job

I work in a retirement facility, so I know lots of old people. Old people can be great. I've heard stories more funny than anything ever uttered by George Carlin. I've met people who have traveled to the farthest reaches of the globe (one man was an Air Force pilot, a bomber pilot in WWII and later a test pilot for the stealth jets, how cool is that?). Another lady keeps me laughing every day with a new prank. I've had full glasses of water turned over on the table so I have to create a mess when I clean up the table (this is NOT nice!). And I love to make the old people laugh.

When I started working in the facility, my Grandma (who lives there) introduced me to a few nice ladies. I made friends of them, and tried to learn as much as I could from them when I was working. Even now, they tell me how to pick the right man, how to do this or that craft project, how to keep my skin healthy, how to do just about anything. The old-wives'-tales amuse me to no end, and the truth in every story is apparent. I'm certain lemon juice can solve any problem. If not, find a good man. :)

One lady taught my father and his siblings when they were young in Sunday School at the First Christian Church. She had the biggest smile. I remember she would always come down to breakfast later than everyone, but never too late to get any food. This was always when I'd try to sit down and have my break. So, being two lonely people in a huge dining room, I'd often sit down and have breakfast with her. We laughed and laughed! I'd tell her my boy woes, she'd tell me what to do about them. She'd tell me about her problems, I'd offer what help I could (usually just a kind word, a smile, and a big hug). If ever I had a surrogate grandmother, she was it. Idella was a wonderful lady.

In September 2004, her son made her move up to Forest Grove to be closer to him. I was sad she left our facility, but happy she could be closer to her family. I've missed her every day since she left. This morning, I was making some copies as I always do on the weekends, using the time it takes the copy machine to warm up to read the office log book (which contains major events of the facility: who died, who moved in/out, who broke what bone, who went to what hospital, etc.). There was a small note about halfway down the page, "Idella passed away." I read it, read past it, and then it hit me what I'd seen. I was immediately crushed. My sweet other Grandma was gone forever.

Idella taught me how to laugh. She taught me how to serve without selfish impulses. She opened my heart to old people, to love even if it means loss. My job would surely have ended before now if I'd not learned these things. I will miss her.

Idella, good morning my dear, I know you never understood all these newfangled computer things, but if you can read this, I love you. I've got your eggs and toast waiting, jelly too. I hope you're happy being the most beautiful flower to grace God's breakfast table today. Thank you for allowing me into your life, for being a great friend, for listening, for a lifetime of laughter, and for your love. May you sleep now in true peace.

Idella Osburn: Obituary


Jeff Waddell said...

I'm sorry to hear about your friend passing away, she sounds like a really fun and interesting person. I hope that she had a full life and that she enjoyed being with her family. :)

Lisa said...
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Michael Faris said...

Lindsey, thanks for writing this. I can't relay in words right now how meaningful this post was.