121. One of Us

“One of Us”

There is an elderly man who lives near us. He has a grown up daughter with intellectual disabilities who lives with him. From some of their routines, I gather that she attends a day program. The father, no longer able to do the physical labor unassisted, ushers her gently into the car with the help of an aide. With his precious free time, he sometimes stops by the bakery.

Every time I see him, I think

This is one of us in the future
Alone but not alone
His gentle, aging presence
His child’s fragile safety net

Every time I see him, I wonder

Who looks out for him?
Do holidays wear on him?
What sustains his spirit?
Why don’t I ever speak to him?

Every time I walk down the street

My child’s loud sounds
Become his child’s loud sounds
We are all phases, all ages
The journey with no end

Every time I walk by him

I am guilty of deflection
Assuming someone else must be holding him up
Assuming he has his personal armor and won’t want my concern
Assuming the things people assume about us

What if we are all there is?
What if we are failing him?
One of us will end our days in his footsteps
Supported by hollow words of praise
And distant echoes of goodwill


4 thoughts on “121. One of Us

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