Sunday, August 23, 2009

Thoughts...things you can't buy at a grocery store.

I recently had a lot of thoughts running through my mind. A lot of things had happened and I wanted to soak it all in. And honestly, nothing bad happened. In fact, most of the things that have happened to me have been good things.

So, the other night, at the grocery store, my father had told me of a customer who told him (my father) that he (the customer) was thankful for my help. He was a middle aged guy who needed help at the computer lab at the library this past week. I helped him log in and search web urls. Also, I helped him type his address and telephone number in a website that was sending him a security device for his house. Anyway, it wasn't a big deal and I thank God I was able to help him. But the funny thing was, when I was helping him, he actually reminded me of my computer illiterate father! lol! That's too funny, how this came full circle.

Also, I had helped another middle aged guy, who sat next to me at the computer lab on a different day. He kept leaning over to ask for advice on photoshop, spam mail, and about the Microsoft company. So I listened as he described his problems. Even when it was closing time, he kept talking and I kept listening. And finally, I advised him to get help at Brooklyn College, where they do have courses and people (ie., young students) who might help him better understand the computer know-how.

But the thing that made my week was having this great conversation at the store today (actually yesterday.) A lady who comes by regularly, and buys scratch off tickets, stood and talked with me for about 20 minutes today. So what did we talk about? The aging and caring of our parents.

The conversation began when I asked her, "How's your mom doing?" But first, here's some background - the lady/customer is 54 and takes care of her mom, who I believe is in her 80's. She's been doing that for about the last 15 years or so. She told me how difficult it was and how it eventually led her to become sick. Currently, she struggles with diabetes, and heart disease through this ordeal. And imagine, she told me, when you're parents will have to go through this. (I nodded. In fact, I wonder how I'm dealing with them right now, getting older right in front of my eyes.) She told me to look into Medicaid, Medicare and to get an attorney and an accountant to prepare for their future. Imagine, she said, if your father dies, what then would your mom do? And she told me about the options for "life insurance" mortgage, where one partner dies, then the mortgage is paid off or covered for the other. Not to mention, how she found out a lot of stuff through the disability office, where she currently is receiving some support. Also, she told me about a free air conditioner program for the elderly. Plus, on the issue of being (somewhat) financially supported by the government, she told me that they (my parents) had better be able to document or show sizable income in the previous years before retirement, to be eligible for a greater Social Security benefit, if and when they'd retire at the age of 65. And most importantly, she told me about the need to do this NOW!

Right now, my parents are 55, so in about 10 years, I would need to (or help them) figure all this out. "But God forbids, something happened tomorrow," she then asks me, "What, then would you do?" I had no answer, but she's RIGHT. I need to look into all this stuff. And honestly, all this came in like a tidal wave. Here I was looking after them and cleaning up after them. But then you forget about the nitty gritty stuff like a "power of an attorney" and live-in nursing. And what about a will?? Because some people will say that 55 is not old, but here I am telling you, it is. It really is. You never know when your health be lost, when you'll get sick or be in an accident. And don't think for a second, that you can snap your fingers and win the lottery and everything will be taken care of.

So, WOW! I need to think about all this. And not just this - my law school admission process, Dream Act, my own financial future, getting married, becoming a federal judge, maintaining a small business and a house, my relationship with the LORD, and anything else that comes my way. And to do all this in the next 10 years will be challenging. But hey, who said, "life was easy?"

So I'm off. I really need to pray. Wish me luck. And best of luck to those who take of their parents. Really, they/we desperately need it!@ And it's really nice to know that being older and wiser (like her) could lead one to imparting wisdom for those that are younger (like me.) It wasn't about all these barriers and being private with your problems. I think as we get older, we're able to discuss things more openly, honestly and with the idea that we should be helping one another. I like that. Maybe its why I've always like talking to older folks. Maybe its because they want to help you understand how life really is. And why wouldn't you want to learn from those who've experienced it the most? I think for all of those people above, we've become friends too. And that's something you can't always buy, manufacture, or sell in this day and age.

As the lady left the store, she told me, "Any questions, any problems, you let me know and we'll talk."

How about that!? That is one genuine caring person, talking to another human being. This you can't buy at a grocery store. :-)

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