A Serious Day at the Retirement Home
I found a friend sitting by himself and looking serious in the coffee lounge this morning. For a change, the place was quiet, with few people around. Perhaps everyone was using the one-degree cooler weather to go out and do some shopping. The heat in these dog-days of August has kept everyone close to the air-conditioning for the past couple of weeks.
“What’s new?” I asked.
“Our neighbor on the second floor passed away over the weekend. His family is gathered at his daughter’s place so we went over yesterday evening to offer our condolences,” he replied.
“Who was it?” I asked. He mentioned a name, but it was meaningless to me. “Tall fellow with white hair and a white beard,” he added.
“Did he have a wife?”
“Yes, but she hardly ever left their apartment.”
I strained my memory searching for a tall man with white hair and beard and some minutes later I placed him. I had never spoken to him, but we had met in the elevator once and then nodded to each other in the entrance. He seemed pleasant enough. Now he has gone.This is how it is in a retirement home, I suppose. People come here to spend the last phase of their lives in comfort, and then leave. For many of them it may have been a stay of a few years only. They may not have had family nearby and they may not have been here long enough to develop long-lasting friendships. There is no local grocer or corner news-agent that will miss them.
Hopefully the tall fellow with the white hair and white beard had enjoyed his time here and had an easy departure.