Andrea came to see me at work today. She's a much older woman, well into her 80's, but you'd never know it from looking at her. Aside from moving more slowly, she handles her affairs, drives herself wherever she needs to go and makes sure her makeup, hair and nails are fantastic. She has that perpetual New Englander scowl thing going on, so at first I was concerned that I wouldn't be able to please her. But after you've lived here for a couple decades, you come to realize that the scowl gets imprinted on a lot of our faces due to the weather and/or the sports teams. She's an absolute jewel, so I love helping her.
We've had several lovely conversations over the years. She's told me about her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She told me about the catering business that she started and then ran with one of her sons, who now runs it by himself. She's shown me pictures of herself as a young woman and dressed to the nines attending parties with her husband. She brought a sweater to show me that she knitted years ago with beads woven into the knitting. We had discussed crafting, and she had wanted to show me what her hands were once capable of doing. Andrea likes to bring me food as her way of thanking me for helping her. She's silly that way. We've talked about her husband. They grew up together and were married for over 40 years before he died. Many years after he died, Andrea met another man through some friends. She called him her sweetie. His grown children and grandchildren love her, and still do, even though he died a couple years ago. He made her happy again when she thought that part of her life was over.
When Andrea got ready to leave my office, she noticed an older gentleman that was sitting in my waiting area. She inhaled sharply and put her hand to her chest. I immediately asked what was wrong and she told me that when she looked at the man sitting there, for a moment she thought it was her sweetie. Quickly realizing that wasn't possible, we both smiled weakly at each other. I hugged her. She started to tear up, and then asked me if I needed a grandmother in her life. I told her to be careful out there.
After my mother's divorce was finalized when I was a teenager, she tried her hand at dating again. She even got engaged on two separate occasions over the many years afterward but gave the rings back each time when she realized the men weren't right for her. One really didn't want to commit, and the other failed to visit her in the hospital when she was very ill. He was busy. That whole week. I remember telling her that I thought she was brave to do that, even though he was an ass for not visiting her when she so desperately needed to see him. She told me that all she really wanted was someone to go to the movies with every so often, maybe go out to dinner, sit on the couch and hold hands. She didn't need to get married again to do that. She just needed a sweetie.