I Saw an Old Woman Today and I Saw Myself
By Bernadette A. Moyer
On a hot and humid July day I found myself driving in Shrewsbury Pennsylvania, I was learning more about a backyard shed that we are looking to purchase. After meeting with the Amish builders I headed off to a local market known for their orchards of apples and peaches. They have a lovely bakery and I picked up a homemade peach danish and a handful of fresh peaches.
As I turned the corner in the market, I was struck by an elderly woman and her companion who was a younger lady. When I looked closer I recognized the woman. Her name was Bernice and we worked together twenty years earlier when we were both Realtors selling real estate. She was much older than me back then but she had really aged. When I knew her she was a force to be reckoned with. Bernice was a strong, tall and quick witted communicator. She had a passion for life and radiated energy and happiness.
Today she was thinner slightly hunched over and needed assistance in getting around. When I whispered her name her companion perked up. It was indeed Bernice. I explained how I knew her and Bernice smiled and spoke in a much softer fainter tone than how I remembered her. Turned out her husband passed away more than ten years ago and she was currently living in an assisted living center. Her companion was her niece who often came to spend time with her and take her on some short local outings like this market.
When I looked at Bernice, I saw myself. I thought that could be me in another 25 or 30 years. As we age we get weaker, quieter and smaller. The world doesn’t pay as much attention to us as perhaps they did when we are younger and more vibrant. The Bernice I knew had so much to offer, she was a doer and a real contender in the real estate business. Today it was clear that Bernice was at the final stages of her life. Most of her living had already taken place. She looked good though, she was well dressed and neat and clean and really well cared for. She wasn’t as sure of herself or as confident as I remembered her to be … I saw an old woman today … and I saw myself. Someday, God willing, I will be Bernice and be that old woman too ...