A little after 10 a.m., I drove to Marion Senior Services to buddy up with a kind woman named Barbara and head out on my first Meals On Wheels route!
For those of you who may be in the dark about Meals On Wheels, it is an organization dedicated to ending senior hunger. I spoke with a volunteer coordinator and filled out paperwork expressing my interest in delivering meals to seniors in need in the area a few weeks ago and got word on Tuesday that my background check cleared.
Barbara and I left on our route a little before 11 a.m. and delivered meals to homes within a 10 mile radius. The route we completed will be my assigned route a few days a month moving forward and I enjoyed meeting all of the people I will be delivering lunch to in the future.
Some people were very chatty and excited to see what was on the menu for the day while others remained in another room of their house and simply called out for us to leave the food on the table. Meals on Wheels did a great job of detailing some of the obstacles volunteers might face at each residence, making note of the seniors who are hard of hearing, those who cannot answer the door, etc. Knowing a little bit about what to expect made it easier for me to feel prepared walking into someone’s home.
During our last stop of the day, Barbara and I walked into a very emotional situation. We knocked on the door of an elderly couple’s apartment to deliver two lunches to a husband and wife. Their daughter answered the door in tears, informing us that her mother passed away yesterday. It was heartbreaking, especially when she talked about how her dad was coping with the loss of his wife.
When we arrived back at Marion Senior Services, I thanked Barbara and said goodbye to her before speaking with the volunteer coordinator about our last stop of the day. She said that unfortunately things like this happen every so often and can be the hardest part about volunteering with Meals On Wheels since occasionally a death may occur. It was a memorable first day with Meals On Wheels and I cannot stop thinking about our last stop. I am scheduled to deliver meals again next week and hope I can meet the man who lost his wife and be of some comfort during such a difficult time (if he is looking for someone to talk to, that is).
To make my smoothie I combined:
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 scoop fitmixer chocolate protein powder
- 1 tbsp. dark chocolate coco powder
- 1 tablespoon almond butter
- 1 handful ice cubes
- 2 handfuls fresh spinach
- Enough almond milk to get everything moving
It was a simple lunch, but a good one.
I hope I can get my head back into the zone today, as I’m having trouble thinking about anything else other than the last stop of my Meals On Wheels route. Even though I didn’t know the woman who passed away, seeing a family so enveloped in grief broke my heart.
Today’s experience made me think about something I read that Cheryl Strayed, the author of Wild, said about grief. “There is no other side where you arrive on the shore and you walk away clean.” Grief is a process and you don’t just wake up “healed” from your hurt one day. Grief is something we carry with us, but along with that grief, I like to think that we carry a little bit of the people we lost with us, too.