Their Eyes Would Light Up. You Are Enough!

I like older people, ever since I was a very young person I enjoyed the company of people over the age of  80.   The older they were, the more I wanted to hear their stories and be their friend.  When I was a 21 year old college student,  I met an elderly woman at my church that was about 90.  I started to talk to her and she told me her husband at home was 99.    That was interesting..I had never met a person that was almost 100.  So I started to go to her apartment and hang out...I became friends with her and her husband.   Her eyes would light up when she opened the door for me.  

Her husband died a few weeks shy of his 100th birthday.   She started to call me more often, I remember some of the calls were,  "Tara can you stop by, I am so lonely"..and her voice would break.  So I would come over and she would tell me about her mother and her life.   When I went to Thailand to work as a travel writer, she would write me letters...which I still have.  She did not drive so on the weekends I would take her out to Burger King or whatever she wanted.  She was one of my best friends, she told me about her husband and how they met during wheat harvest in Lewiston, Idaho circa 1928.  (How many friends do you have that have these stories?)   She died at age 97.  I was 70 years younger.  I drove to her funeral and they told me she had starved herself because she was so lonely.  One of her family members gave me her dish towels.  I am not sure why, I did not keep them, I have her letters.  She loved me and that was enough.  I was enough. 

When I was 34 I befriended a Holocaust survivor I met in the hospital in Beverly Hills.  Her name was Zina Krazymann.   I would visit her at her and her husband Isack at their apartment in West Hollywood and she would tell me stories about her life and how she survived the Holocaust.   We became best friends, and her eyes would light up when she answered the door.  I knew she loved me.  When I adopted my daughter I made a special visit to her apartment in West Hollywood to introduce her to my daughter.   She gave me $20.00 and said it was a beautiful thing.   One time I took her to Fred Segal in Hollywood for lunch and we looked at $800 Prada shoes.  She put in her teeth and earrings and went in my car to the shops.  Even though she could not walk very well,  she loved it.   I would call her once a week after I moved to Seattle.  

One week I called her as usual and her daughter answered the phone.   She had died a few days before and was buried within 24 hours.   My heart broke.   I cried for a week.  I wonder if she knew she was my best friend.  Maybe not.

I don't have that type of friend right now.  I don't have a friend whose eyes light up when they answer the door (besides my pug).  I just had to show up and that was enough.  Its wonderful to be accepted and loved because you show up.  (I can't explain this thing, but in my generation as young women, and even now you were not OK unless you had had the perfect career, the perfect family and all hindsight I like to believe we were enough just as were were).

Recently I worked at a trade show with a 27 year old graduate student.  She had "I am Enough" tattooed across her shoulder.  It is a new thing for women to feel empowered and that they are enough no matter what their circumstances.   If you have a friend, no matter their age, if their eyes light up when you walk in the room then you are loved.   You are enough.


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