On my free time, I volunteer at the local assisted living. Typically, I spend my day with a different room each time and rotate throughout the year. This past week, I spent my time with a sweet elder couple. I do not like to choose favorites, but if I was forced, these two would be at the top of my list.
The elder woman is among the more classical generation. She never leaves her room without her hair properly curled and combed. Her teeth, although fake, she will never confess it. When lounging in her room, she is still dressed to perfection. If you didn’t know better, you would think she was the origin of ‘yes ma’am and yes sir’.
The elder man was obviously a past farmer. He spoke in a deep, but soft voice. There was never a time when he didn’t offer me food. He is tall and bulky, with a slight scruff underneath his chin. This man is the type to speak to me in a selective tone in front of his wife, and in a different tone when we are alone. He has a hard exterior with a soft and sweet inside.
One morning, I was following the elder woman around, helping her with her daily chores. One by one, I removed her curlers and smoother her hair behind her ears.This particular morning, she had asked me to help her put her ‘face’ on, referring to her makeup. As I opened up her makeup case, I started removing the containers that looked the most used. Starting with the foundation, I peeled back the lid and gasped. There was nothing at all in the container. In fact, there was nothing in any of the containers. By that moment, the elder man had noticed my face of panic. He nodded at me to continue.
So here I was, brushing on what was suppose to be make-up to the elders face; first the foundation and then the blush. Here and there I would humor myself and correct a ‘mistake’ I have made. In reality, I was doing nothing different than what I would do with my barbies as a child; pretending to dress them up. As I was finishing up her makeup, she stared into the mirror and admired herself. It was as if she felt more as a ‘woman’ with make-up on.
The elder man, when we were alone, explained to me how he dumped out all of her make-up. After assuring me it saved him money, he said he loved her without makeup all along. When they were younger, she always thought she had to impress others, but he loved her from the core. He continued to explain to me of her pristine outer appearance, but her heart sealed the deal to their marriage.At this moment, I realized the power behind makeup. When the elder woman thought she was dolled up in makeup, it boosted her self-confidence, and allowed her to tackle the day with a strong demeanor. The elder man kept this secret as a gift to himself. Although the elder woman has aged, he always saw the same spirit. This is an unforgettable love.