Each week we host a drop-in for the veterans. One of our goals is to work towards reducing or eliminating social isolation from their lives. When I first started in this position in July, we had several participants who would make “chit-chat” with each other but shared no real conversations, only brief one-liners back and forth with huge gaps of nothing between.
As I watched them return this week from our Christmas break, it was great to see the progress - solid conversations from start to finish. One gentleman has come so far as to even ask me to join him for a game of cribbage! Now that may not seem like much to some, but for him, this is a huge step. He won both games and to save face for me, I won’t say by how much. LOL
During our conversation over the game, this gentleman expressed to me how excited he was to go fishing. So, we started talking about that. Now don’t get me wrong, I am so not the fisherperson. I can hold the rod, but I just can’t bring myself to put the worm on. As we chatted, it clicked with me that he wasn’t talking about summer fishing. He was so excited to go ice fishing as he has never been. My eyes grew huge. This gentleman went from barely speaking in July to going ice fishing in January with a group where he won’t know anyone ahead of time. When did this change take place?
Part of eliminating social isolation is being able to make conversation with new people or even making full conversations with people you’ve known for a short while. Each week I make a point of speaking to every person that comes through that door. There are times when I can tell they are carrying the weight of the world on their backs. There are times when that same person seems carefree and full of life. We all have moments like that. For me, moments like this realization of transformation are so heartwarming. For more information on IVOS, feel free to click here.
~Elizabeth – IVOS Support