I just returned from a visit with my family, who I had not seen for the past two years. Most important was to spend time with my 97-year old mother, who is now blind and struggling with the pressures of time. Being with her and my brothers, one her primary care giver and my younger brother and his wife who pitch in. It is important to watch and listen to their daily joys and struggles. To see without judging the change when you become responsible for a parent. Watching and listening to my mother as she struggles with the single most difficult thing to happen to her at this age. An avid reader, cook, and conversationalist to lose this ability is beyond frustrating. She remains feisty, as independent as possible, and strives to maintain her sense of humor. It was good to be with them and gain an appreciation of their lives, which phone conversations can never reveal.

On the way, down and back I decided not to read. Instead I engaged my seat mates in a conversation. This was also an enlightening and inspiring part of this trip. Engaging with real people on a one to one exchange uncover what text messaging cannot. The reinforcement that we are alike. That we wish for the same things, even though in different degrees. Two strangers who became acquaintances by the end of the trip from different parts of the country. Different background, different interests, with dreams and desires to do something positive with their lives that can make a difference in the world. This trip with family and new contacts reinforces the message that you find truth thru the stories and feelings of others.

“Don’t judge a man until you have walked two moons in his moccasins.” [Sharon CreechWalk Two Moons]. Understand a person by listening and watching them tell their stories. Each story will change you and eventually the way to feeling truth is to empathize with these stories.