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The Gold in the Golden Years

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

Friends.

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

Six years ago, my ninety-one year old friend Barbara, who was on a walker from a painful hip surgery, expressed her despair from feeling useless. But as we shared lattes with a  friend in her mid sixties, who has slow growing cancer, we laughingly imagined walkers for us like baby walkers with crinoline skirts to hide them, and 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.

The next day, I visited 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 had awakened overwhelmed by loss and 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 listened to me telling 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.

The following day, my alarm went off three hours too early  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 eightieth birthday celebration in an upscale restaurant, I somehow managed on my second trip to the bathroom, to go into the men’s room.  Then when leaving, I couldn’t find my coat check number in my tiny purse.  Since I don’t drink, I couldn’t even blame it on something temporary.  At least it’s fodder for a blog post.

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.

Wishing all of you a joyous Christmas season filled with laughter.  Eileen