Our newest Guest Blogger at Mid Life Celebration, Connie Wright, returns today for her second installment of a story that will sound familiar to many of you. Take it away Connie:
Family started arriving 3 days before my nephew’s wedding; being the closest family member to the church and reception – I became the hotel for some and restaurant for many more. The house filled with 10 “residents” and dinners were for 20 or more. Days started early and ended late.
Mom celebrated in all the people coming and going – she had missed activity in her life the past few months. Life in Pennsylvania was quieter as she shut down the house; some stayed away because they thought that was what she wanted (and in the beginning she thought she did want people to stay away) and others stayed away because – well – you know- after you say you’re sorry about Malcolm dying – what do you talk about – the rest seems so trivial?
As the house filled with people, she caught up with family and visited with cousins. She liked the puttering of clean up “it gives me something to do”. My sister and I took her to the art museum where our great, great, great.. grandmother’s portrait hangs. Painted by Sully, a famous painter in the early 1800s, it was exciting for her to see the portrait. It was a busy week.
As the crescendo of noise and flow of people increased, Mom decided maybe she should put some of her cash in a safe place and move her keys to another safe place. But she didn’t tell anyone she was doing this.
Now I am blessed that at 85, Mom has her wits about her. She writes notes to help her remember, but most of the time – that simple act seals the memory and the notes aren’t needed. But she is passing through into another phase of her life and with it so am I.
There was a time when I harbored the unrealistic idea that if everything came crashing down in my world, I could grab what was most important and “go home”. Now I am that refuge for my mother. She will head to Florida on her own, but she knows it is borrowed time and it will be her; not me; grabbing what is most important when things start to crash down. I will be her safe harbor should she need it.
She remembered where she put her money, but the keys are a precursor and very symbolic of what will be next. How long can she drive? Will it be years or months of independent living? She worries now about when that time will come, how she will handle it and what it will mean. She did so much for my father these past few years as his illness made him so very fatigued, she gracefully moved him into that phase without making anyone aware of that. She knows it will be less subtle for her. She will be losing her keys; only this next time it will be “for keeps”.
Thank you Connie for your touching and poignant story. Living in Florida for the past 27 years, I’ve observed the choices seniors make, and don’t make. It would almost seem that simple exercise, like walking, would allow seniors to be some of the healthiest people around.