The Intern

This week I saw the newly released movie  The Intern  starring Anne Hathaway and Academy Award winning actor Robert De Niro. De Niro plays a bored retired phone book executive and widower who takes a job as an intern for a hot-shot CEO of an online clothing company. The comedy is worth seeing and has some funny, as well as heartwarming moments. But the portion of the story that stood out for me—is that De Niro’s character kept talking about how many of his friends’ funerals he would go to. Almost on a weekly basis—another friend would die.

Since I founded Aegis Living, a senior assisted living company serving about 2,000 residents on the west coast, I have sat down and chatted with hundreds of residents.  We’ve had candid conversations about aging and I’ve asked them, “What’s the worst part of aging?”  Almost universally, I get this same answer.

It is not that you can’t do the same things you used to be able to do—that is expected.  One of the most difficult aspects in life’s journey is that you are constantly attending the funerals of friends and family that you grew up with. Sometimes, you’re even mourning your own children-which is one of the most painful losses. It’s as if you are constantly reminded about your mortality. Even though you’re alive and perhaps even healthy, people are reminded that we are on that same treadmill heading in the same direction. There is no escaping fate.

In the last 11 weeks I have lost 8 friends to cancer. One just 8 hours before writing this blog which is probably the reason that prompted me to sit down and put my thoughts on paper.  Two of my friends were in their 80’s.  The other six ranged from 53 years old to their mid-70’s.  This is the most number of people that I have ever experienced losing in such a concentrated period of time in my life. And it doesn’t seem to stop, just as one dies, I have three more friends with a bad diagnosis.

So I have to ask myself, At 56, have I entered that period of aging?  Will I continue to see this kind of loss around me? Will people I know continue to pass at this rapid rate?  Is this the norm?  I don’t know. But the series of losses make me pause and think about a lot things, such as my own mortality.

I ask myself, Am I using time well? What will my legacy be?  Will I have contributed to this planet in a productive way?  I hope so.

9 Comments

  1. Posted October 22, 2015 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the article and your thoughts. I am 58 and loved The Intern. I am new to the Seattle area and live in Issaquah. I teach art online and love to connect with my students. I will go by Aegis in Issaquah and see how I may contribute. I’ve taught and managed and directed my whole life, and yet after over a year of looking for pt work, it seems as if employers want youth over experience :0). I still have a lot to offer, love people, love teaching art, have patience, and need to get out into the world! Gayle

    • Dwayne clark
      Posted November 2, 2015 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      Yes , please stop by and they can direct you…best Dwayne

  2. Marguerite Daltoso
    Posted October 23, 2015 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    I remember you Dwayne when you were a student at DeSales High School in Walla Walla and your beautiful Mother when you came to Walla Walla. You were such a fun loving young man and a good cheerleader too. You always had the most beautiful smile and you were so well received at the school by the students, teachers and families. I couldn’t be more proud of all you have accomplished over the years and I so enjoy your email My Mother My Son. God Bless You and thank you for all you do to help the elderly. I had 6 children attend DeSales and I know you would remember some of them. You were in Walla Walla a couple of years ago and I got to see you and talk to you at the Alumni Reunion. Keep up the good work, we are so proud of you as an Alumni of DeSales High. Marguerite Daltoso

    • Dwayne clark
      Posted November 2, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      Yes, Mrs. Daltoso of course I remember you, and Gina, Lynn( my biggest high school crush) and Mike, tell them all hi for me and if they are ever in Seattle to stop by and say Hi….all the best…Dwayne

  3. Sharon M. Anderson
    Posted October 25, 2015 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I am 72, and suddenly they’re dropping like flies all my family of Origen is gone, and the two great friends from my high school years live 2500 miles away.

    My friends here in Washington are of various ages. One 30-year-old has a bad diagnosis, but is very militant against her cancer. The rest seem pretty healthy, for the most part. I am helping several of them cope with the loss of family members.

    I suspect that a diverse group of friends as far as ages go helps. I have three daughters and their spouses, eleven grandkids, and the possibility of a grandchild next year. I have perhaps 20 people as friends, four or five of whom are probably close friends.

    Given the fact that you likely have many friends in the aging community, and some who may have been exposed to risk factors in their younger days, you WILL lose some of them. Probably every year. The solution is, even in your grieving, to reach out to others who may not have been as close and draw them nearer make new friends. The opportunities for friendship are boundless. Take joy in that as you yourself age.

    • Dwayne clark
      Posted November 2, 2015 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      Appreciate the advice, but it is the ones who are under 70 and dying that concerns me…..thanks for reading….Dwayne

  4. Vim
    Posted October 31, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Hi,
    While looking for info about an Aegis program I heard on the radio (could not find it on the website), I happened to read this very heartwarming blog. Thank you for sharing and caring for our Seniors.
    Best Regards,
    Vim

    • Dwayne clark
      Posted November 2, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

      Thanks so much!

  5. Posted November 19, 2015 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing Dwayne. After losing my dad a couple of years ago I am grateful to be part of a company who offers solutions for providing comfort for our royalty. I appreciate knowing the CEO and founder of Aegis Living truly cares. -Julie

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

*
*

  • Saturdays with GG

    Purchase the Book


  • Purchase the Book

    “I am confident this book will aid so many people traveling through this confusing and painful life journey.”
    Barbara Van Wollner, whose father “Big Al” experienced dementia in his final years.