When I arrived at Forest Trace to see my dad, I looked everywhere. He didn’t have his phone turned on and I walked to his apartment, the clubhouse, the swimming pool, the lobby, I looked everywhere. I called his girlfriend, “do you know where dad is?”
“He’s listening to a lecture,” she told me.
I finally found the “lecture” room and saw him sitting there with a group of people. He was just listening. The elderly people were talking about being lonely. One man’s wife passed away and he was talking about how the other residents were cold to him.
“It seems like everyone has their own groups and no one is friendly,” he said.
“Yes, that’s true,” another elderly woman interrupted. “The people here are not very nice.”
As I sat there listening, I started to get upset. Why would these seniors not accept outsiders? Is this how my dad feels? Is he lonely?
All I kept thinking was, I should have been the one to run this group. I would have had everyone in the room “best buddies” by the time the group was finished! The group leader just sat there and listened. Why didn’t she have everyone introduce themselves and talk about their lives?
I tapped my dad on the shoulder and said, “let’s leave…” He got up and we went back to his apartment.
We ran some errands and came back to Forest Trace at 4pm for dinner. When we saw his girlfriend, she told us she made prior plans and didn’t want to join us for dinner. So, my dad and I sat at a table. He ate corn beef and cabbage and I had a half bagel with sliced salmon. I didn’t like the choices but they had other options than the daily specials. We sat and talked for a while and then he picked himself up to look for his girlfriend.
I sat alone at the table. I looked over and saw three women sitting by themselves.
“Missy,” one woman said to me, “I noticed that your mom and dad were split up.” I looked at her. “My mom died six years ago,” I said.
I talked with the women. One told me she was a holocaust survivor. The others told me where they grew up and a little about their lives.
As I was hanging out with the ladies at Forest Trace, I started to think about the conversation I came in on that morning. These women seem very nice. They don’t seem pretentious. Or, are they talking with me because I’m a younger person? Or, are they really clicky? I guess one will never know…