I knew I was in a world of trouble when I flew up to visit my elderly mother who lived 700 miles away. I was a Case Manager in Rehabilitation. My job involved coordinating care for people with various disabilities and I noticed changes in Mom that sent up all the red flags. I was an only child. What was I going to do? I had a job and career 700 miles away. . .
This dreary January day finds me in Houston helping a long-time friend complete her move to a smaller home. Sally is downsizing because she recently had to move her husband, ravaged by the effects of dementia for several years, to a safer environment. It has been a difficult transition for her not only because she is adjusting to living alone again but also because she has had to shed so many possessions. (more…)
You haven’t heard from me in awhile because I’ve been traveling and writing from the road was a lot harder than I thought it would be. This post has nothing to do with aging except for the fact I never thought I would see what is occurring in our United States. (more…)
We spend a great deal of our adult lives taking care of business and preparing for the future. We think about our plans for “someday” but our focus is on paying bills, raising children, building careers and establishing our place in the community. Then, in what seems like the blink of an eye in hindsight, you wake up to find the kids have grown up, the roots are down and you’re at retirement age. Someday has arrived. Now what? (more…)
“Do you need help with that?” asked the pleasant teenager who had bagged my groceries. “No thanks, I’ve got it,” I replied as I reached for the handles of my canvas totes. His next words caught me by surprise. “Are you sure?” he asked with a doubtful look on his face. The first retort that came to mind was, “Do I look feeble to you, kid?” Which was followed immediately by the thought, “Oh crap, maybe I do!”
I was 32 when my father died after a long struggle with cancer. Because he was ill for so long we had time to spend together saying what needed to be said. In essence, we grieved his death together. After he was gone I missed him terribly but my attention turned to meeting the needs of my mother and helping her adjust to life as a widow. When she died suddenly 11 years later I was totally unprepared for the devastating sense of loss I experienced. It wasn’t that I loved my mother more than I loved my dad. It was because it suddenly hit me that I was no longer anyone’s daughter. I was an orphan. (more…)
And you—what of your rushed and useful life?
Imagine setting it all down—papers, plans, appointments, everything—leaving only a note:
“Gone to the fields to be lovely.
Be back when I’m through blooming.”
—from Camas Lilies by Lynn Ungar
After a month on the road I’m beginning to understand what draws people to this lifestyle. A fellow traveler commented RVers are like turtles because we carry our homes with us and we move slowly. Usually my life is more like a sand crab than a turtle. Head down, I work furiously to finish my latest project. Digging fast enough opens a little well of time but it is instantly filled up with more things to do. Like the dogged little crab I rarely get out of the hole I’ve dug myself. One of the reasons I wanted to take this trip was to reconnect with my inner tortoise. (more…)
I had a bucket list long before I ever heard that term. As a child I dreamed of the places I would go and the adventures I would have. Many of my dreams have been realized and are are now treasured memories. But not all of them. And that’s why after my last birthday when I officially became a “senior” my husband and I decided it was time to get on with the list. (more…)
My father was tougher than nails and rarely sick before lymphoma took over. He fought it for a long time but the cancer inevitably won. We lived 200 miles from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and made many trips there while he was undergoing treatment. On one trip it was just Dad and I driving home from Houston. It was a moonless night with only the glow of the dash lights to relieve the darkness. Alone in our little cocoon he started to talk. He told me stories I’d never heard before and so many pieces of the mystery that was Dad fell into place. I would have given anything for an audio recorder but this was years before cell phones or digital recorders so I paid close attention to capture his voice in my memory. This is my favorite of the stories he told and the one I think best illustrates Dad’s optimistic character. (more…)