Somewhere in My Memory

As I took in the faint scent of pine trees this morning, a few familiar faces slowly came to mind. I have crossed paths with these individuals somewhere in time. Some had lost their loved ones around the holidays. Some were facing the unwelcome opportunity to relocate. Some had nobody left to spend time with. Some finally succumbed to their illness.

It felt like yesterday that I was singing “Silent Night” with someone, who, despite his advanced cognitive impairment, was better at recalling each verse than I did. I remember how “Joy to the World” temporarily washed away the anxiety and depression in someone who had not smiled for weeks. I remember someone whose generosity with his time and talent never ceased as he savored his last days on earth.

Sometimes I wonder how these individuals and their loved ones are doing. I know better than to ask but it does bring a smile to my face whenever I hear that someone is doing well, or when my friends pass along a “Hi.”

Amidst all the holiday celebrations, I am most grateful for having the time to ponder on these lives and those around them that are worth celebrating. ‘Tis the season to be jolly indeed!

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About C

If you consider volunteering at a luncheon for older adults as my first exposure to the field, I have been in geropsychology for at least twenty years. As family, friend, volunteer, trainee, and professional, I have found myself in adult day care centers, senior centers, senior living facilities, nursing homes, medical and psychiatric wards, hospice, and personal homes of older adults. Wherever I go, be it an orphanage, a museum, a prison, an airport, or a random corner in the neighborhood, issues related to aging and mental health often come to mind. I used to think that I could make a difference only if I became a top-notch researcher, educator, or clinician. As I continue to follow this meandering path, it dawns on me that as a nobody in the field, I can still add my light to the sum of light by sharing what I know. Over the years, I have "converted" a few very dedicated individuals to focus on aging-related work within their respective disciplines and encouraged a handful more to stay in this field despite its winding course. I believe by bringing aging and mental health issues to the foreground, we will amass a stronger force to promote advocacy, research, and quality care.
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