the Admiral at nautilus teachings

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he is new
they call him Admiral
his eyes are closed
his hands tapping
upon the counter
his lips in constant motion
he sits alone
word is
his family needed a break…
i walk up
place my hand softly
upon his shoulder
and say,
“hi Admiral…”
he stills
tilts his face
to the sound of my words
eyes still closed
he smiles
i rub his shoulders
and say,
“thank you for your service…”
his head drops
as tears well up in my eyes…
he is a top commissioned officer
of the United States Navy
and is outranked only
by fleet Admiral
of which there have been
none appointed since WWII…

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and today
in the tiny town of Rockledge
he sits
all alone…
sadness envelops me
we are living longer
and society does not
know what to do with us
i don’t know his name
or anything else about him
but
when you put your hand
upon his shoulder
and speak the words,
“Admiral…”
he stills
and i can see the pride
as his shoulders straighten
as if waiting for the troops to silence…
Wednesdays
are when my heart breaks
as i see these
beautiful souls
wandering
sleeping
sitting
with droopy eyes
their hearts
filled with memories
which they freely share
if only you’d ask-
AND I ASK!
i sit
i listen to
stories of first loves- lost
children grown- gone
many photos of grandchildren
adorn their rooms
as i stop in each one,
visit for a while
and let them share with me
their lives…
but the Admiral sticks
he once commanded fleets of ships
was in charge of thousands of men
ended and saved lives
made split second decisions
laughed,
drank
and cried…
it’s a funny world
i get to be a part of
aging with mom
as hard as it is
it is one of the best
days of the week…
all i can say is,
one day it will be
you,
me,
your spouse…
if you have aging parents,
grandparents…
find time to give them
the priceless gift
of your hand upon theirs
your ears to listen
and your life to change
in a million tiny ways…

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