Her name is Betty and she has short shingled hair, like in the roaring twenties. Her touch of eccentricity is probably what makes her a wonderful woman at her age. She’s close to 80 years old, and yet, she has the soul of a 15 years old teenager. Since quite a while now, I come to see her and her fellow sufferers every monday, tuesday, and thursday. Sometimes, I do even spend my free time overhere, building puzzles while challenging the narrow minded side of some. I would never have thought to have the patience and the energy to take care of the elderly, and yet it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done until now.

On monday morning, I’m part of the fitness class where I am the assistant of the present educator; we are doing a few exercices in order to get their muscles working on so they don’t have to deal with osteoarthritis, among others muscular diseases. Henry takes part of the class, and I’m always asking myself why -every once in a while, he breaks one of the elastic bands we use because he has so much energy and strength. Then it’s very funny to observe his half shy hald proud smile. The truth is this dear Henry only comes to this class to impress the women, and especially Betty. It only took me a couple of days here to figure it what was happening between those two scallywags. The looks, smiles, and cheeky insinuations… to observe those two is as funny as observing two teenagers looking for each other.

Betty’s eyes are sparkling when she talks about her past. Her memories are so detailed it doesn’t feel that far. For that matter, it is sort of similar for everyone else here. Still on monday, early afternoon, we play card games. Most of the time, games to get their memories functioning. In about an hour, everyone tells stories about their past and my eyes are shining to every single word pronunced. It can’t be otherwise, except if you don’t have a heart. Then I realise how elderly people have this incredible ability our generation will never have. I am nearly capable of remembering what happened to me two years ago, on the other hands, they are able to tell you detailed stories of what happened when they were still young adults discovering the world. This is just impressive.

On tuesday morning, there is a kinda music class going on. Everyone sings along with the teacher playing the guitar. They are not always in rythm, some are out of tune, others seem to have been singers in the past… but they all sing willingly and this warms up my little heart.

On thursday afternoon, it’s time for errands. But only if the temperature is kind enough. In a mini bus, we are exploring the city: library, local markets, coffee… and if the weather isn’t warm enough, we stay in and I will talk to some, build puzzles with others, or else. I have the feeling to be a granddaughter for all of those people. And, somehow, it kinda makes me feel sad. I realise I didn’t really spend any quality time with my own grandparents. Or at least, not enough.

As strange as it may seem, each time I go visit them, I feel full of energy and hope. It gives me this incredible lust for life. And I do believe this is also right for them. Everytime they see me come in, Betty and the others have a huge smile on their faces. A pure and innocent smile of gratitude.

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