La vida es corta – but it’s also long.
Marcela*, a down syndrome, elderly Chilean woman residing in the all-women assisted living home, Fundacion Las Rosas, is a prime example of this. As our group entered the yellow stucco building, we were surround by crosses and kind eyes full of knowledge and enlightenment about life. Some of the women were happy and talkative, while a few were pensive and quite. Marcela sat alone in the corner. She had trouble with words, and at times she would burst out in tears for no particular reason. Her small frame was propped up in a wheelchair, and she had dark eyes that seemed bright, though it was clear that the world she saw through her teary, chocolate pupils was a challenging one, to say the least.
It was clear when she took our hands, that her life had been long and full of struggle. She seemed calm and smiled when we sat with her, though we couldn’t communicate, save for a loving palm squeeze.
As we sang to these women who had grown up during the military regime, and seen so much life, it seemed that we were making their days. Towards the end of our visit, one woman said “mas feliz.” It was emotional. It was beautiful.
The day proved to be blossoming with varying, distinct perspectives of the world. At Parque Quinta Normal, we saw new life blooming in cotton candy-colored roses and fire orange carnations. We observed oak leaves floating on the glassy pond, spotted with lovers and friends paddle boating. Children played in the bubbling fountains, full of joy; their effervescing youth radically juxtaposed the vision of Marcela alone in her chair. It really made us think about life as a whole, and about how much change we see on this crazy, wonderful, long, short, beautiful ride called vida.
* indicates a name change to protect a source