The Gold in the Golden Years

From the poem Time on the blog: poetry, photos, and musings, oh my –  by lea

Whatever time is left

Use it up

Wear it down

Regardless how thin

The fabric becomes

It is rich with the sounds

Of laughter

Salty with tears and


This excerpt from Lea’s poem describes my life at seventy-nine perfectly.

On Wednesday, my ninety-one year old friend Barbara, who is on a walker from a painful hip surgery, admitted her despair from feeling useless. But as we shared lattes with a younger friend, who lives with a slow growing cancer, we laughingly imagined walkers like baby walkers and crinoline skirts to hide them, perhaps even small secret porta potties built in. Then, in the parking lot as we attempted to help Barbara into the van, somehow she got stuck bent over half way in. We tried to gently boost her backside without hurting her hip, until the giggles overtook us. Frozen in place, the three of us laughed helplessly, humor overcoming even our fears of age weakened bladders. When I called Barbara the next morning to make sure she hadn’t been hurt, she started laughing all over again, insisting she had been laughing all morning just thinking about it, and even wished we had a photograph.

Thursday, I visited with my friend with dementia in a nursing home in Nashville. She had once again dreamed of her parents’ death as a present day event, and waked up frantic about funeral arrangements.  Each time she grieves anew, I can only hold her hand and ache for her endless losses. But later, seeing the wonder in her eyes, when she listens as I tell one of the caregivers about her courage and faith and her kindness to so many in her life, I recognize a moment of grace even in the now worn fabric of our lives.

Friday, my alarm went off two hours early at four a.m. and I had the coffee made before I finally noticed the actual time. Later, I realized on my first stop of the day, that I had my coat on inside out. That night at a my sister-in-law’s birthday celebration in an upscale restaurant, I managed on my second trip to the bathroom, to go into the men’s room.  Then, somehow I lost my coat check number in my tiny purse. Unfortunately, I don’t drink, so I can’t even blame it on something temporary. At least it’s fodder for blogs.

The Gold in the Golden Years are our friendships and shared memories, but perhaps most of all, the freedom to laugh at ourselves.

Laughter is carbonated grace.

About Eileen

Mother of five, grandmother of nine, great-grandmother of four. 1955 -1959 Rice University in Houston, TX. Taught primary grades; Was Associate Post Director of Religious Education at Ft. Campbell, KY; Consultant on the Myers/Briggs Type Indicator, Was married for 60 years to an Architect in Middle Tennessee.

Posted on March 27, 2013, in Gifts of Age, Healing, Humor, Love, relationships, Spiritual and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

  1. Your words are carbonated grace, Eileen. Thank you for sharing. Like a tattered child’s blankie, the fabric of your life is rich with love. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  2. This is one of the most moving posts yet.

    You got me.
    Also, you have me.

    Both of those are true.

  3. Reblogged this on Laughter: Carbonated Grace and commented:

    One of the blogs I follow touched on this theme this week and brought this post to mind. I needed to remember this right now, so thought someone else might also.

  4. I wish my Mum had had a friend like you. As she grew older she lost her humour and became bitter and dour. I can imagine you getting the fit of the giggles when your freind got stuck getting into the the van 🙂

    What a beautiful poem…is there more?

  5. It’s part of a poem in a post several years ago on the blog “poetry, photos, and musings, oh my- by lea” The name of the poem is “Time.” I think that was the name of the post also. You can probably find it on her blog. She isn’t writing much original material on her blog right now. She’s writing a book.

  6. Beautiful, the ability to laugh with friends.

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