So my neighbor was hit by a car: A lesson in perseverance

Not long ago while I was enjoying an awesome Cup o’ Joe outside on my back patio, I saw one of my older neighbors on his walker with his tiny dog tied up to the walker – this is how he normally walks his dog. A total accident waiting to happen. You can imagine how long it takes him to shuffle down the sidewalk with a walker.

This particular day while watching him I thought to myself “this guy is going to fall.” I used to provide fall assessments to caregivers and their parents for Pete’s sake. I know all the statistical data. Of course, I just sat there and watched him continue on his long journey.

So I go in the house for my second cup of coffee and went upstairs to the loft for my daily reading and opened the blinds to let a little sunshine in and I noticed a commotion at one of the neighbor’s house. The old man had sure enough fallen and one of the neighbors was kneeling down with him. The next thing I heard were sirens from an ambulance coming to the rescue. They performed all kinds of tests and in a moment he got up and walked home.

Two days later I saw the same old man back on his morning walk with his dog once again, tied to the walker. In talking with a neighbor later that day I heard that he had fallen that very morning and the two days before, he had been hit by a neighbor’s car while she was backing out of her driveway.

I couldn’t believe it. I thought, “What perseverance this man had to continue walking the same route, the same way, day after day in spite of what had happened and I’m sure, in spite of the pain he was in.” In all actuality, he had every right to give up and quit, to allow his circumstances to keep him down and inside the house never again to go out, yet he persevered under trial – in and through it all.

I love looking up definitions to words so I looked up the word “perseverance” which means patience and endurance, determination, steadfastness, tenacity, to persist and continue your course. And this one hit me “consistency through whatever.”

We all have stuff that happens along our journey of this crazy thing called “life” be it through financial hardships, divorce, death, illness or daily caregiving. We must continue to remember to persevere.

There are times when I may be having a bad day or faced with a challenging situation and in that very moment I am reminded of my little old neighbor and the perseverance he showed and something in me says “you can do it.”

About Sue Salach

Sue has a Master's degree in Gerontology and has worked with the elderly and their families for over 30 years and is the Author of "Along Comes Grandpa", a caregiving resource guide, and the novel "If I Walked in Her Shoes". As an ElderCare Expert and Keynote Speaker, Sue employs her comprehensive experience and passion, to educate and promote self-care values to family caregivers and the community at large.
This entry was posted in aging, caregiving, elders and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to So my neighbor was hit by a car: A lesson in perseverance

  1. Nurse Tim says:

    A good breathing exercise I teach my patients when they seem overwhelmed is to match their breathing while reciting the Serenity Prayer- it has a rhythm to it and seems to slow down someone who’s having a COPD episode or anxiety attack, helping them to focus on calm and steadiness, one breath at a time. Pretty soon, they’re relaxed.

    I find myself doing the same thing if I’m working a busy ER or have an especially high patient load- get into a rhythm and pace myself for the long haul…per-se-vere-ence.


  2. Nurse Tim says:

    Gee, Susan, something’s going on here with this timely word on “perseverance”; Brian Coatney wrote a piece entitled, “How Spontaneity and Suffering Go Together” on the same day you posted your story, and as I read Brian’s account, that word “Perseverance” came to mind with a scripture: Romans 5-” rejoicing even in our tribulations, because they produce Perseverance, character, and hope- and hope doesn’t disappoint us…”
    Encouraging stuff, for sure. Paul said to “Run a good race…”; kinda like your definition, “Seeing the finish line and having the strength to reach it”. In our race, it’s more like “Seeing the finish line and having the Faith to reach it”. Whereas the world says, “Seeing is believing”, we say, “Believing is seeing”…goofy, huh? Bless your day!


    • Right on Bro! I hear it very often. It reminds me too of the last saying in the movie “Chariots of Fire”…… “Where does the strength come from to see the race to the end”…..”It comes from within”…..That to me means, not our inner self, but Christ in us. Thanks for your valued thoughts and comments. Blessings.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s