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Friday, June 23, 2006

The Old Man Next Door.

My company re-located offices to a very old and quaint area of town right before Katrina hit. We're in a beautiful, old building that's situated in a residential area. I love it here because our office space feels very home-y, and the neighbors and neighborhood are just wonderful.

A few months ago I noticed an older gentleman who lives in the house next to our office. He waves to me every morning. He's usually outside in the mornings with his little dog. I never really understood what he was doing outside because he would just stand around staring off into space. My first thought was that he was an Alzheimer's patient, but after watching him one morning, I saw him get on a bus. I always wondered where he was going and what he was doing.

My co-worker's grandfather was recently in a car accident and has since had his car keys taken away from him. Old age is cruel, unfair and inevitable. I can't imagine being stripped of my independence, but when your inability to think quickly and see clearly starts affecting your ability to drive, there's no other option. I digress. After the car accident, my co-worker walked over and started talking to the old man next door. She found out that the bus brings him to a local community center where seniors get to engage in all sorts of fun activities - line dancing, bingo, aerobics classes, etc. I think this is a fantastic program!

Since she first talked to him, they've become friends of sorts. He's opened up about his life to her, and she relays all of this information to me. Today she told me that the little dog he played with every day and took on hour long walks had to be put to sleep a few weeks ago. This just broke my heart. I know he's lonely. His wife passed away, he never sees his children, no one is ever over there with him - I imagine his dog was his only companion (besides the friends he has at the community center). I just feel like running over there and giving him a big hug. My heart is connected to this man for some reason.

I'm not sure why I posted this here. I guess I just need to collect my thoughts. When she told me about his dog I started crying (like an idiot). I just feel so sorry for him. I just wish that there was something I could do for him. I can't imagine being lonely at that stage of your life - everything and everyone you love is dying around you and you're just standing there watching it happen.


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