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Friday, June 20, 2008

Keep On The Sunny Side

I am the “baby” in an over 55 community. Most people would think being surrounded by lots of widows in their 70’s and 80’s would be depressing. I find it inspiring.

Many of the women in my neighborhood have suffered through some tragic events and currently face health and financial issues. Yet, with few exceptions, they are still as positive and productive as they can be.

Take Miss Pattie for example. She will be 90 in December, has been a widow for over 25 years, and is also a cancer survivor. I have never seen her without a big smile on her face and a joyful comment about something.

Mozelle can barely walk, yet to my knowledge she has never uttered a word of complaint about the pain she suffers as a result of arthritis. She is always so interesting and has given me a lot of useful advice.

Pauline lives next door to Mozelle and is amazing. I’m sure she is somewhere in her 80’s also, and yet she thinks it is “no big deal” to drive in nearby Dallas. She is tough and won’t let that awful traffic stop her from visiting family and friends.

And then there is Dovie, who keeps us all laughing. Her life has not been a bed of roses, but she uses her quick wit to turn almost any situation into a humorous one. I often have tears rolling down my face after spending time with Dovie, particularly when she talks about older men that just want “a nurse and a purse.”

My neighbor across the street, Ann, has cancer. She is a gifted artist and after seeing how much the chemo treatments cost, she spent $2,000 of her own money to have note cards printed with her artwork on them. She is selling these special cards to raise money for those patients who can’t afford the chemo her insurance covers. All of the money she is taking in goes directly to a foundation at the hospital. In her darkest hour, Ann is still reaching out to help others.

All of these women have traveled down different paths, have weathered different storms, and have new struggles ahead. But “sunny” words—sometimes hilarious—are all they use. Like one day when Dovie said “Come on girls. Let’s get up and go out before we mildew!”

I like to go to lunch with “the girls.” Their spirits shine through their aging faces and frail bodies. On one recent outing I saw Miss Pattie’s eyes still dancing with enthusiasm, and said, “I want to be you when I grow up!” And I do. God Bless the ladies who show me every day that life—despite its ups and downs—will always be better if you keep on the sunny side.


WOOFers said...
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Mary Cunningham said...

You are truly blessed, Melinda, to be surrounded by such an interesting group of WOOFers!

Hope we hear more updates on Miss Pattie, Mozelle, Pauline, Dovie and Ann.