Norma & I had the pleasure of being interviewed by KING 5 TV host, Margaret Larsen.
When my mother died last September, I changed her forwarding address to mine (at the post office). This was going to solve two pressing problems: enduring trips to her old residence to pick up the important mail I needed to execute my duties as trustee of her estate, and avoiding all the junk mail she got, including piles of catalogues!
Mom, what’s left of her physical self, is residing in my home. I often pass by her spot on the shelf where she is surrounded by the dog portraits we framed together, to ask her a question or inform her of some new development in the lives of her children or grandchildren or just to say hi. But here’s the weird thing: she is receiving her catalogues again – her name on them and with her new address (mine)! How did they know?
First Mom got her J. Jill, Soft Surroundings and Chico’s catalogues. Of course, she is not wearing, much less buying, clothes any more – except for her Giants cap. Then came catalogues targeting seniors – firstSTREET, Easy Comforts and Fashionable Canes and Walking Sticks that offer grab bars, step stools, walkers and magnifiers that might make Mom’s life easier. But her life is over now & I’m hoping she is free of the impediments that require those things. Many times I have had to go to Catalogue Choice to rid my mailbox of reminders that my mom is not with me. Yet another sad job for the executrix.
The catalogue people are trying a new tack now. Recently Mom has received Road Scholar – a list of educational Elderhostel trips to far off places – and right after that a travel catalogue, Magellan’s. I’m beginning to suspect that my mom is actually managing her own catalogue choices so that I will notice. It can’t be exciting sitting on the shelf in her old, albeit favorite, soup tureen wearing nothing but her Giants cap. Perhaps Mom is trying to tell me to pack her up in one of those nice roller bags from Magellan’s along with a new sun hat and sandals from Chico’s (for me) and a magnifier from Easy Comfort (for small maps) and take her with me to the Galapagos where I can release her into the warm clear waters where she can befriend sea turtles.
I’m liking this idea, Mom. How did you know? Does any one else have “signs” from their parent? written by Ellen in California
As I’ve aged, I’ve become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I’ve become my own friend. I have seen too many dear friends leave this world, too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.
Whose business is it if I choose to read or play, on the computer, until 2 AM or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 &70′s and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love, I will.
I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And, I eventually remember the important things.
Sure, over the years, my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break, when you lose a loved one or when a child suffers or even when somebody’s beloved pet gets hit by a car? But, broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.
I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.
As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.
I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day,if I feel like it.
Here’s to growing older with grace! How about you?
Submitted by Toby
After the death of our mother, there was an interesting relationship shift in our family.
The first four of my parent’s children were girls; the youngest was their only son. Our Italian mother easily interacted with each of her children, but our German father was more reserved. He didn’t engage in a lot of conversation or activities with his kids, though we knew we were dearly loved by him.
Our mother was the conduit of information among us, as we became independent and lived separately from our parents. We learned from her of births, deaths, illnesses, marriages and divorces in our extended family and friends. With two of the siblings living out of state, this lifeline to news was an important way for us to feel connected to people we rarely saw, but about whom we cared.
Once Mom was gone, we hoped Dad might fill this role of ‘family crier’. Not only would it keep us in the pipeline for information, but it would give us topics for conversation with Dad beyond the weather and sports. Unfortunately, he never filled those shoes (though others of my sisters did keep us up-to-date on the comings and goings of the people we knew), but Dad ended up filling an even more important role in my life.
While Mom liked sharing news, I learned that Dad would talk about meatier subjects, like faith and values. We enjoyed many hours, often very late into the night, talking about soul subjects. The later the evening grew, the more philosophical and deeper the conversations became.
Dad outlived Mom by nearly 15 years. As we laid him to rest, I realized that even though my mother was the parent who was so comfortable in day-to-day conversations with her children, my father was the parent who truly knew me.