Written by Bryan Finnigan
Shirley Klindt is an observer. An unassuming presence who feels that she is more comfortable listening to a conversation than participating in one. The walls in her room are decorated with several intricate cross-stitchings, little framed reminders of a “dried-up” hobby she once had. Still an avid reader she shows me the latest technology provided by the Braille Institute; a computer which magnifies any given text to allow people with limited eyesight the freedom to read any book or periodical of their choosing.
Shirley enjoys reading biographies and autobiographies as well as books on parapsychology and spiritual beliefs. Shirley is quiet and contemplative. She likes to hold her thoughts in reserve for the right person or what I would soon find out, the right topic of conversation.
“I’m afraid I’m just not that interesting.” she tells me. “I wish I had some great stories for you…or have traveled somewhere exciting.”
“But you do travel.” I suggested. “You like to travel within yourself.” “I never thought of it like that.” She smiled. “I guess I do travel.”
Shirley’s curiosity with parapsychology began with her grandfather, a spiritual explorer himself who opened her eyes to a wide variety of thoughts and beliefs.
“I have attended just about every kind of church you can imagine. It just doesn’t make sense to me that there could only be one way to believe. There is so much more to this life and it’s all just so fascinating. After my grandfather passed away I know he visited me. I felt his hand on my head – comforting me.”
Shirley’s passion for wanting to understand this world on a spiritual level has led her down paths only a few dare to explore. She has studied metaphysics, psychology, parapsychology, psychic abilities as well as astrology. Her curiosity, however, isn’t just limited to books. Shirley went on to share several personal stories of direct experiences with unexplained phenomena. She even drew my chair closer to her for an impromptu astrology session, another “dried-up” hobby that once included calculating personalized astrology charts – most of which she still can recall from memory. With a youthful vibrancy she shared with me a little more about myself in relation to the zodiac.
“Wow. I haven’t talked about this stuff for a long time. It felt like my world was closing in, but now it feels like it’s been blown wide open!”
In a way Shirley’s life has been closing in on her. For a person who enjoys introspection, lately she has had to put her thoughts aside to hold loving space for the wellbeing of her husband of 66 years, George, whom she visits on a daily basis since moving into Stellar Care 3 months ago.
“I can feel him. I just sit by his bed and hold his hand and I can feel what he is going through…George and I have had a good adventure together.”
Shirley moved to San Diego from Butte, Montana at the age of 17 when her father relocated for his job with an aircraft company in Chula Vista. Shirley went to Jr. College and was introduced to George during a blind date set up by one of Shirley’s sorority sisters.
“My only concern was how tall he was. We were going to a dance in Mission Beach and I was wearing high heels for the first time – I didn’t want to be taller than him.”
George and Shirley went on to raise 3 children and stayed in San Diego where George ran a plumbing company that he took over from his father. Shirley happily did secretarial work for George’s company but her main focus was raising the kids and being a housewife.
Now Shirley quietly supports George with her daily visits and continues to draw from her rich past to meet any challenges she may face in the future.
“All these experiences that have happened to me in my life have happened to let me know that everything is all right. We all need to be reminded that we are not alone in this world and everything happens for a reason.”
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