Storytelling at Work
July 08, 2017
Waving Goodbye to Henriette

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Evelyne and I have been visiting her mother, Henriette, twice a day for the past week or so. Our visits are short and sweet. We sit in her living room and, after she turns off the French game shows on TV, we talk. Well, actually, Evelyne talks. My grasp of French, not unlike my grasp of trigonometry, is only "un petit peu". So Evelyne translates for me, when it's my turn, which is actually kind of cool, because it makes our conversations with Henriette a bit longer.

We ask her how she's doing. We ask her if she needs anything. We show her the photos we took of her, on the couch, yesterday. And we banter, the French way. "Badinage" it's called and Henriette is very good at it -- the playful way French people make fun of each other -- yet another way of staying young, I suppose.

I write "Je Taime" on a few pieces of scrap paper and leave them in various places around the house, so later that day Henriette will be reminded of how much she is loved. She asks me if I want some water, her need to serve, even at 90, still so very strong. She gets up slowly from the couch, steadies herself for a brief moment, and walks to the kitchen -- or should I say "waddles" -- a new kind of side-to-side movement that keeps her from falling. The water she brings me is perfectly chilled and served in a beautiful glass.

The first few days Evelyne and I said goodbye to her after one of our visits we simply drove off in the direction our car was facing -- which was away from Henriette's house. She did not like this at all. Her preference, she explained, was for us to turn the car around and drive past her house so she could stand on her balcony and wave -- and we could wave back. This is what we do now. Waving goodbye to Henriette, as she stands behind her purple and white petunias, happens twice a day here in the little town of Courcelles-Chaussy.

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Posted by Mitch Ditkoff at July 8, 2017 05:42 PM

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ABOUT THE BLOG

Storytelling at Work is a blog about the power of personal storytelling – why it matters and what you can do to more effectively communicate your stories – on or off the job. Inspired by the book of the same name, the blog features "moment of truth" stories by the author, Mitch Ditkoff, plus inspired rants, quotes, and guest submissions by readers.

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Storytelling for the Revolution
Storytelling for the Revolution is Mitch Ditkoff's newly published book about the power of personal storytelling to elevate the conversation on planet Earth. Provocative. Evocative. And fun. YOU have stories to tell. This book will help you tell them.
Storytelling at Work
"The world is not made of atoms," wrote the poet, Muriel Rukeyser. "It's made of stories." Learn how to discover, honor, and unpack the stories of yours that show up "on the job" in Mitch Ditkoff's award-winning 2015 book, Storytelling at Work.
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