Friday, March 19, 2010
Lately we've had more than our share of frustration at our house. Boys spend a half hour on the computer on homework they don't even want to do, exit out, then realize they forgot to save. Someone eats the ENTIRE BOX of someone else's favorite cereal. There is too much work and not enough time. People misunderstand. Feelings get hurt. Baseball coaches expect too much. Can't anyone see we're trying our best?
It's not just teen and preteen frustration. Around here we enjoy all varieties-- the adult version too. But then Wednesday comes around, I go on my Meals on Wheels route and visit with Miss Minnie*, and any frustration that I'm embracing dissolves away for a while.
Remember Miss Minnie? Her life seems to be getting harder by the day. I keep reminding myself that she's just about blind. She can't see how filthy her house is, the trash scattered on the floor, the grime. She uses a walker all the time now, and last time I was in, I noticed she had a chamber pot by her bed. She must empty it fairly often because I didn't notice an odor.
Once a month I help her pay her bills. I read the bills to her, and she points to her purse (she keeps it on the bed, along with a box of cereal for snacking,) I find her wallet and write the checks. The first time I did it, I signed her name for her, and boy, she gave me a talking to. Now I put my thumb by the signature line and she feels for it, and then carefully writes her name. Usually her shaky signature floats up the check towards the date line, but the bank always accepts it.
Three weeks ago when we did her bills, she had put them in a bill holder on the wall. When I pulled them out of the holder, a dozen bugs showered down on us. I guess they were nestled in there, feeding on the glue of the envelopes? I tried not to react too much--Miss Minnie didn't see them, so I just flicked them off of both of us, wrote her checks, and drove straight to the Meals on Wheels office to report what happened, flicking at imaginary bugs the entire way. No one should live like that. She can't see well enough to take care of herself and her home anymore without help, and her only family is a niece a half hour away who visits only sporadically. Hopefully the Meals on Wheels folks will be able to get her some help so that she can stay in her home. We'll see.
I hope I haven't ruined your breakfast or lunch. I tell her story because there are so many Miss Minnie's out there, barely making it, invisible to everyone else. I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. You may know a Miss Minnie yourself. Their stories should be heard. I'm thankful for her courage and stubbornness and persistence--and for the way she enriches my life.
Have a great weekend, y'all!
*Miss Minnie is not her real name, in case you're wondering. The photo was taken on my MOW route, but those are not the homes of any of my clients.
PS. If you've got a couple of hours to volunteer once or twice a month (or more,) check out Meals on Wheels. It's a great way to contribute the community and meet incredible people. (And the bug thing had never happened to me before in years of doing this, thank goodness!)