In my younger days, my friends knew they could count on me. My children depended on me; I supported my wife as best I could, knowing Sharon would do the same. We tried to give our kids the lessons they needed back then, advice they asked for when they became adults.

At work, I always tried to help out my coworkers, then my employees. I never shied away from questions and did my best when they came to me with personal problems. I never was more happy than when I was helping out other people, making their life a bit easier, maybe a little better.

Ever since I retired, fewer people ask for my help. When I talk to my kids, I see my advice gets ignored more and more. When I walk out the door and go shopping, I meet with far more impatience with the old man but worse, condescension, making it clear I’m an inconvenience.

Ever since Sharon died, no one really listens to what I have to say, all I have is people politely pretending to listen. No one needs me anymore.

I once mattered.

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