Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Shouldn't someone know me?

While wandering through a Seattle area nursery which is famous for its Christmas displays, my daughter and I bumped into a group of senior citizens who were on a field trip of sorts. An  elderly women stopped right in front of me and asked in an almost accusing tone,  "Do you know me?" I said, "I'm sorry, no I don't" and we stepped aside to let the group pass us.

Several minutes later our paths crossed again and the same woman stepped towards me, searched my face, and said, "What's your name?"  When I told her she replied, "I had a name once but it was not the one I wanted" and then, "Are you my niece?" I said "No, I'm afraid I'm not your niece," while her caregiver took her arm and gently guided her back to the rest of the group who were continuing their trek through the Christmas displays. My daughter and I exchanged empathetic glances as we realized the level of this woman's distress.

A third encounter came to pass within another ten minutes. I had my back turned when I heard the questioning woman talking to my daughter. She said, "Do you know me?" My daughter tried to comfort her and as I walked towards them the anxious woman looked around and then toward the ceiling and said in a very loud voice, "Shouldn't someone know who I am?"

I wondered how many in the store were wondering the same thing but were not voicing it.  This woman was distraught because of an illness that was claiming her memories.  What about those of us who keep ourselves just busy enough to not have to think about our own fears?  of not being known?  of not being wanted?  of not being loved?  From the words of this stranger came the best gift.  The reminder that the one who knows who we are is of the now and the not yet.  So with eyes focused on the star in the East, may our footsteps remain headed toward that stable where we are all known and loved. 


Mrs. D said...

What a great accompanying figure for that anecdote!

You are brilliant, Lady. But then, you knew that.

EJK said...

Dear Roberta,
This story so reminds me of my sister-in-law who is diagnosed with early onset Alheimzers. I know there are times when her head is filled with fuzziness and she often has the same question as the woman you encountered. I know in all of the heartache, with which my brother wrestles, there is a place where he can go and lay all his fears. It is a place that provides him comfort and shelter from this dreaded disease and eases his feelings of the fear as to the future. I know that as he awaits to celebrate the birth of Christ he also celebrates his blessings and the time he has with his wife. Thank you for sharing your story!

Jayne said...

That just makes me sad to read Roberta. I can't imagine the real fear in her as she realizes that she doesn't even know who SHE is anymore, let alone that no one seems to know her. Such a horrible disease.

Lauralew said...

What a great post--love your conclusion. Prayers for those who, for whatever reason, feel unknown and unloved this season and anytime.