I volunteered at a senior citizens community during my freshman and sophomore years of high school. My favorite thing to have all the elderly people come to the lounge and I’d tell them about my life whether it be school, relationship problems (they give the best relationship advice), etc. And they would tell awesome stories from their past, reliving different time periods in their lives with each other. I would just sit there and listen and have a good time. Eventually, my dad got a new job in a different city, so I told them that I would be leaving soon. On the last day, they all wrote me a card, and bought me a cake. Of course, I teared up and so did they as well. We all said our goodbyes, and they all left, but as a volunteer, I had to stay behind and clean up. One lady stayed behind, came up to me and kissed me on the cheek. She said that she was lonely after her husband passed and that her children died before any of them could get married, so she never got to have grandkids. Every time she saw me, she would think, “my grandchild would’ve been just like him.” I cried, even more, hugged her, thanked her for all the experiences.
Half a year later, I got an email from my volunteer coordinator. This same elderly woman was sick and dying and wished to see me. I drove the 3 hours to see her and man; we had such a fun time just chit-chatting. The coordinator emailed me later saying how wonderful it was for me to visit her and she had the biggest smile on her face after I had left until she passed. It was touching.
Those two years volunteering there have changed my life. I’ve just had a better look on life, learned to embrace the elderly (they’ve always got the best advice), and somehow changed my view on death. I’ve just recently been able to accept that we all die, and not to be afraid of it. If it happens, it happens, but live life to the fullest so that one day, I can retell all of my life stories to some volunteer that hangs out with me when I’m old.
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