Senior Moments

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Yellow Roses and Friendship
Jim Cassidy  

While walking through my local Senior Center recently, the wonderful compassionate Heart to Heart support group was meeting.  This beautiful bereavement group meets weekly as they bond and talk about the loss of a spouse or a close one and how they can move on.

From a corner of the room, I overheard one of the ladies who was standing telling this poignant story:

I walked into the grocery store not particularly interested in buying groceries, I wasn’t hungry.  The pain of losing my husband of 50 years was still too raw.  And this grocery store held so many sweet memories.

He often came with me, and almost every time he’d pretend to go off and look for something special.  I knew what he was up to.  I’d spot him walking down the aisle with the three yellow roses in his hands.

He knew I loved yellow roses.  With a heart filled with grief, I only wanted to buy my few items and leave, but even grocery shopping was different since he had passed on.

Shopping for one took time, a little more thought than it had for two.

     Standing by the meat, I searched for the perfect small steak and remembered how he had loved his steak. 

Suddenly a woman came beside me.  She was blond, slim and lovely in a soft green pantsuit.  I watched as she picked up a large package of T-bones, dropped them in her basket, hesitated, and then put them back.  She turned to go and once again reached for the pack of steaks.

She saw me watching her and she smiled.  “My husband loves T-bones, but honestly, at these prices, I don’t know.”

I swallowed the emotion down my throat and met her pale blue eyes.

“My husband passed away eight days ago,” I told her.  Glancing at the package in her hands, I fought to control the tremble in my voice.  “Buy him the steaks!  And cherish every moment you have together.”

She shook her head and I saw the emotion in her eyes as she placed the package in her basket and wheeled away.

I turned and pushed my cart across the length of the store to the dairy products.  There I stood, trying to decide which size milk I should buy.  A quart, I finally decided and moved on to the ice cream.  If nothing else, I could always fix myself an ice cream cone.

I placed the ice cream in my cart and looked down the aisle toward the front.  I saw first the green suit, then recognized the pretty lady coming towards me.  In her arms she carried a package.  On her face was the brightest smile I had ever seen.  I would swear a soft halo encircled her blond hair as she kept walking toward me, her eyes holding mine.

As she came closer, I saw what she held and tears began misting in my eyes.  "These are for you,” she said and placed three beautiful long stemmed yellow roses in my arms.  “When you go through the line, they will know these are paid for.”  She leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on my cheek, then smiled again.  I wanted to tell her what she’d done, what the roses meant, but still unable to speak, I watched as she walked away as tears clouded my vision.

I looked down at the beautiful roses nestled in the green tissue wrapping and found it almost unreal.  How did she know?  Suddenly the answer seemed so clear.  I wasn’t alone.

Oh, you haven’t forgotten me, have you?  I whispered with tears in my eyes.  He was still with me, and she was his angel.

With the story finished, the sweet lady sat down quietly.  As I slipped out of the room, wiping a tear from my eye, I thought, “Every day be thankful for what you have and who you are.

Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings.  Thank you, Lord, that I can hear.  There are many who are deaf.

Even though I keep my eyes closed against the morning light as long as possible.  Thank you Lord, that I can see.  Many are blind.

Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned, tempers are short, and my children are so loud.  Thank you, Lord, for my family.  There are many who are lonely.

Even though our breakfast table never looks like the picture in magazines and the menu is at time unbalanced.  Thank you, Lord for the food we have. There are many who are hungry. Even though the routine of my job often is monotonous.  Thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work.  There are many who have no job.

Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day and wish my circumstances were not so modest.  Thank you, Lord, for life.

For friendship is a gift.  A friend is someone who fills our lives with Beauty, Joy and Grace and makes the world we live in a better and happier place.

Jim is Vice-Commander of American Legion Post #219. He served as a combat infantryman in WWII, fighting in France and Germany with the 70th Infantry Division. Jim Cassidy was awarded the Bronze Star for his service in World War II. You can email him with questions or comments at:

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The February, 2006 Edition of the Valley Patriot
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