When I was a boy my grandmother lived in a house on the edge of Murray, Kentucky. She had a two car carport. She parked her car on one side and kept several pieces of lawn furniture on the other slot. There were two or three chairs and a long, two person couch like thing called a glider. It moved back and forth and was a favorite of my cousin and me.
On hot summer afternoons we would sit in the shade of the car port, drink iced tea, and listen to my grandmother tell stories about our relatives. She would start out telling one story but soon she would get side tracked and tell the story about someone peripherally involved in the first story. This would have been fine except soon she would get diverted again telling the story of yet another peripherally involved person.
We didn’t mind. We didn’t know any of the people involved anyway. We just enjoyed hearing about all these people and their antics long before my cousin or I were born. And my grandmother enjoyed telling these stories. In a way it was like revisiting all these people, most of whom were long passed.
Today I had a particularly good session at my psychologist. I initially started seeing him for help dealing with free floating anxiety. He has helped me learn to cope with my anxiety. He has helped me deal with other minor problems. But now, he often just serves as a sympathetic ear to listen to my stories, no matter how disjoint or rambling. He listens without judgement and in total confidence. As I leave I realize that my cousin and I provided a similar service to my grandmother.
I called my cousin on the way home. She is getting married again soon. She has outlived three husbands now. This time she has found someone who is, she tells me, her spiritual soul mate. I am happy for her. Everyone needs someone to grow old with. It has been shown to increase your lifespan. I feel lucky that I have married my soul mate as well. I start to understand now how lonely my grandmother was after my grandfather died. In her day widows of her age didn’t remarry. They told stories to their grandchildren.
Sweet dreams, don’t forget to tell the ones you love that you love them, and most important of all, be kind.