Wednesday, 15 June 2011

All you need is love

{Daphne, Hannah and Violet}

This week has been spent in assorted old people's homes, singing and talking. I am so grateful and happy to have been involved in this volunteer project for the entire year and it's only now just winding down with a last set of visits to wise old ladies and men in their 90s and even 100s. The highlight of the whole week was when Philly asked Violet, a 101 year old brave and wonderful woman (who looks not a minute above 70!), what her foremost piece of advice for us would be. 
Her answer?
'Love everyone. There are so many different types of love and so many different types of people in the world. All you can do is try to accept everybody, love as much as you can. Each and every person has something inside of them, something worth loving. It is your job to find that, to love them even if you cannot. That is the secret, life's secret. Simply love.'
To live so many years and to still have this opinion makes my heart happy (an expression a new Swedish friend used today and which seems so right to me.) It is so easy to become jaded, cynical, even about the most trivial of things. Yet Violet and the other wonderful women and men we speak and sing  with have taught me more than I could ever have wished for when I first stepped into the residential home last October. What also strikes me is that the women rarely concentrate on their jobs, their appearances or the troubles they have faced in the past. They speak, most of all, about their families; past, present, future generations. They are so full of love for those who raised them and those they helped raise, those who continue to visit them towards the end of their lives. And it simply confirms my convictions, leads me to love my family even more and thank whoever may be up there every moment for blessing my life with such accepting, hilarious, loving relatives every day. 


  1. It is so wonderful for you to volunteer at retirement homes. Actually, the idea of hospices for the elderly is foreign to me. In Manila and most of Asia, grandparents live with the family and if you send them away (even though they will receive better 24-hour care!) your neighbours are probably going to think you're ungrateful demons. But I'd like to show people this post and prove that living in a retirement home doesn't mean they are alone, forgotten, and unloved.

    Arianne from A + B in the Sea

  2. Arnique, it's so interesting to hear about the system in other countries. In a way, it's sad that we don't have a tradition of elderly living with families but I suppose you are right that nurses provide much better, qualified care! I feel so priveliged to talk to the old people there though, it's so rare these days!

  3. How truly wonderful to maintain such a firm belief for so long. It's funny isn't it how it's essentially so simple, yet so easy to forget (or make harder than it should be). A daily reminder to love could cure the hearts and minds of many a-people, I think.

  4. Hello hello! I tried to find an e-mail here/at your old blog, but I think I've missed it! Anyway, you've won the shopbop giveaway! Let me know what e-mail I can pass on to them to get your gift card sent to you right away :)

    Also, this is a really lovely post. My grandmother has Alzheimer's and lives in a nice home, and although it is hard, it's really quite nice to visit and chat with all the ladies there! They have such fun and really love to laugh!

  5. I think so too, Emily.
    Thanks Kater, how exciting! I e-mailed you back. Sorry to hear about your grandmother, it sounds like she's in good hands though. :)

  6. That photo is precious.

    I am hosting an aztec shorts giveaway if you haven't yet entered.
    strawberry freckleface


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