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“Hurry and get into the car!”
Yelled Jasmine. She was my guardian for the weekend since my parents wouldn't be with me. It was me and a couple of church friends going into a religious campsite in Prescott. Today as part of the camp activities, it was our task to do community service. Although I do love going camping with friends and help others, I in all honesty I did not want to go camping in the first place.
Sitting pationaly inside the on the black, leather seats that the truck offer, I wait for the rest of my friends to join me in the back to head towards our designated area when I started to drift of into my own thoughts...
Why did i agree? I could have stayed and have caught up with my homework and more importantly my sleep.
My thought were shattered when I was told to scoot over as best as I could since five of us would go in the back seats. Having everybody in there positions- feeling squished as a can of sardines- we began to depart from the camping grounds making a turn into the right heading towards a retirement home.
My mind was blank, as I kept contemplating why I even came in the first place when I finally decided it was best to simply focus on the upcoming task before me since it was too late to do anything now.
We arrived have arrived
All I can say that what I saw was amazing. Not the building we were supposed to go to but the tree next to it. I jump off immediately from the car and wait for the giving instruction so I could go to the tree and admire it after.
“Okay guys!” yelled jasmine once more
looking around I realized that was a good amount of people that came, even though I didn't know them at all.
“Our job today is to talk with them. The elderly people in here have special needs, They have alzheimer or dementia and our job is to talk to them, ask them questions-it to help them recall memories but the goal is to just have fun with them”
Realizing that jasmine instructions were done, I begin to speed walk ahead to get to the tree so I would have a few minutes to admire it.
I really did love this tree. The tree was tall, from what I saw it was slightly taller than the two stories of the building when it was compared to it. I had no idea what kind of tree it was but what really struck me was the endless amount of small, white flowers this tree had. Every section I saw had white flowers and the fact that it still had the abundant amount of flowers on this very windy day causing the tree to dance back and forth into a slow waltz, surprised me even more. I seen many of its kind but never one of this massive size.
A sense of serenity came upon me. Looking at my left I notice everybody was ahead, I start to jog after the mini-crowed.
Once entering the building the interior of the lobby gave a sense of elegance with the slick smooth wooden tile floors, the clean-bright white walls, the large windows and the grand black piano that sat in the middle of the room,it seemingly gave me the feel that I was at a ball. Having no option but to continue,we all take elevators to the second floor to wear we were supposed to meet the elderly. Once arriving there I realized that we were not the only group here but others that were camping with us were here to.
The room was very lively at the moment. All elderly were there sitting in chair or wheelchair but happily singing along with us. I sang along as well though my hands begun to sweat when I realized that after the singing I would have to talk to someone with greater age, experience, and wisdom. To the worst of my fears, I begun to sing the last of the lyrics….
“When we’ve been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We’ve no less days to sing God’s praise
Than when we’d first begun”.
Ending the song with the last strum of the guitar, It was time to approach the elderly.
Luckily, one of my closest friends came to ask me to join her and talk with a elderly lady that nobody approached yet.
The elderly lady we were supposed to approach was sitting in a wheelchair with her hands folded on her lap. Her appearance went along with her title. She wore a light creme dress that gave a vintage vibe as it seem faded from her wearing it often- it had little blue flower patterns all around while it was accompanied with a sky blue sweater. Her deep charcoal eyes staring into the distance while her dark and light grey hair was tied into a loose, messy bun with a few strands here and there falling along her face.
Walking towards her and in a shaking voice I began to introduce ourselves
“Hi, my Name is Mareya and this is my friend keyri- what's your name” my voice cracking at the end
Her eyes shifting from her left to me
“Mab…” she mumbled
‘Excuse me what was it again” I question again
“Mabl..” her voice barely audible once again
I stared at her, feeling frustrated with myself for suddenly having hearing problems and making the the situation more awkward than it should be, asking for the third time but this time leaning down to her until we were a good 4 inches away from each other.
Mabel was her name
“Oohhh, Mabel, nice to meet you!!” I exclaimed and even repeated three times when I realized she didn't hear me the first time nor the second as she seem to have hearing problem.
Once she heard, she simply nodded her head steadily in acknowledgement
Continuing to lead on the conversation with a loud voice
“So Mable can you tell me about your childhood?” she just shook her head sluggishly
“Oohh umm, what about your teenage years??” a wave of curiousness washed over me as I wanted to know how high school was back then
But again she shook her head.
“What about your hobbies?? Or something you did that you remember when you were young”
Yet again she shook her head slowly as she showed a pained face this time
Did she not want to talk?
It took a good amount of seconds when it finally hit me that she has forgotten her memories, looking towards my friend and her looking back at me, it was easy to tell that me and her understood the situation and have both somehow have come to the same conclusion.
She lost her memories.
It was evident she lost her memories since Mabel herself was struggling to simply say her name.
What do you ask someone who as utterly forgot most of their life and even struggles to communicate to simply say her name?
What worse is that you keep pestering her to tell you something she can't remember ?
At that moment a wave of pity rushed over me, awkwardness and even sadness... as it came to my mind that she now stays here by herself.
Where was her family?? Have they visit her? How did it ever come to this point?
I begun to imagine myself in her position, wakinging every day to the same routine and have nothing to look back too. Slowly dying and each day forgetting precious memories that will be lost forever.
Having no other option we finally decided that it was best off to sing with her, she seemed to like singing a lot as she kept smiling constantly and and keep repeating certain sections of hymns. Her most favorite song was “let it shine” all three of us sang the song on replay till it was time to go.
Saying our goodbyes we return back to the cars and back to the campsite.
In all my life's I never encounter a situation like this. I suddenly realized that it was important for to appreciate every memory I had whether it was happy or depressing, to create new memories and just in general to simply to enjoy life was something I learn that day as they made me who I am and no one could have the same feeling and actions and significance to my memories.