This weekend, I was able to volunteer at the Windermere on the Mount Seniors’ Facility. Having lost both sets of grandparents recently, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew it would be difficult, but I went regardless.
When I arrived, I was told to interact with everybody, and serve coffee and biscuits.
Pouring coffee and serving biscuits with jam? Bring it on.
However, instead of simply answering to the beck and call of every resident, I found myself engaging in deep conversation with everyone I encountered. I was surprised at how keen the residents were to talk to me, and open up to me about their lives.
Over the course of the morning, I had heard stories of the residents’ children, their lives at Windermere on the Mount, and of their past experiences.
The stories told by two of the residents had a profound effect on me: they shared with me their stories of living through WWII.
They told me about sitting, holding their siblings and friends, crying in basements for hours while bombs were dropped on the houses around them. One of the residents told me about how she was so scared during an aerial attack on her town that she put on two different shoes to run into the basement. She remembered thinking to herself that if she died right then; she wouldn’t even die wearing a proper pair of shoes.
War became a reality, and the youth of the time took every measure to ensure they were enjoying the time they had on the planet.
These residents took great joy in telling me about the fun they had during these times as well. They had to live it up, because every single person walked around not knowing if they would wake up the next morning.
I decided that I wanted to return to Windermere on the Mount simply to share stories with these people. They had all lived such rich and amazing lives; I felt that I could learn something from them.
Speaking to individuals who are older and wiser than oneself often proves daunting, but is an enriching experience on the whole.