Tidbits and Fit-Bytes:
Laughter + Food = Best Medicine
By Mary Van De Velde
They say laughter is the best medicine, but I’d like to add a good meal and a glass of wine to that equation. I witnessed this first hand at a dinner at my Mom’s senior living facility the other night. I went to see mom and thought we were just going to get a table together, but my mom has a group she likes to eat with, so I joined the table of five. One of the diners, a 98-year-old man named Harry had just visited his wife, 95-year-old Mary in the hospital. I’m sure they’ve been married over 70 years….so cute, Harry and Mary.
In a soft spoken voice, he told us she had given up and didn’t want to live anymore. It was so sad, but in the same conversation, he joked about the food and laughed at the latest gossip at the residence, especially when we talked about how a 92-year-old is dating a 100-year-old! There’s always fun stories at the home (as I call it), about bingo games, new residents, what girl scout troop is coming in to paint nails (I love that one!), or who forgot to water the plants outside…but then there’s always sad stories about sickness, dementia and those who passed away during the week.
These seniors have been through so much in their lives, yet they gather every morning and night to eat together, talk about their lives, and laugh.
The highlight of the night was when Harry started to recite a poem from memory called “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. He delivered the poem in his strained, quiet voice, but it rose in strength at the end when he quoted, “I am the master of my fate, I am the captor of my soul”…beautiful words from the author who as a boy, suffered from tuberculosis. Appropriately, the word “invictus” means “undefeated and unconquerable”. I think Harry was hoping his wife would hear his words and keep up the good fight. I know we all did as we were brought to tears and watched Harry get his walker and leave the table. I don’t remember what I ate that night, but the ingredients were definitely love, laughter, and tears.