My Mother is 98 years old. She is beautiful and cheerful. But things are changing for her as she becomes more frail and less able to participate in the activities that kept her young. For instance she loved to play golf, and she starred at croquet, but her balance is not what it once was and she hates walking as a sport. Dancing was her very favorite. But now her partners are all gone and she, herself fears that loss of balance that might lead to a fall. Plus her legs are weak now, and she lost her stamina somewhere along the way.
I am posting a photo taken about 20 or so years ago. She outdid them all at that time. Joyful and living in the moment, she inspired others.
Now I must struggle to keep those positive memories alive as she ages in front of my eyes. It is hard to watch. However this is a fairly new development. She never seemed to age at all until well after she turned 90. I welcome others stories and comments because this learning process creates all sorts of angst and sadness for me. Mother seems fine about it. It is for me that the sadness causes my interactions with her to seem to take forever, and lack the old sparkle.
As I am here with her anyway, I am keeping a journal which is private of course. However some public discussion of the topic of aging parents may help all of us.
It creeps up on us, the loss of friends, the sagging flesh, and lack of zest for life, and the feeling of having time in the future to do what one still has not done. For those in their 90s time and/or energy left long ago. Watching birds feeding at the birdfeeders intrigues and even fascinates older people. They can stare for hours at the birds and exclaim over the colors and shapes as if they had never seen a bird before. Childlike pleasure in daily activities like the splashing of water over a “caregiver” while taking a shower, or watching the same slide show over and over as if it had never been seen before makes smiling a norm. Nothing negative mars the constant stream of caregiving aid and comforts handed out every hour of the day or night.
Lack of privacy bothers some who must live with constant supervision, but my Mother enjoys the company of others. She grew up an only child whose mother died when she was only 8 months old. Her friends were her lifeline augmented by a whole bunch of cousins who lived literally next door. Her life has been crowded with “company” and she enjoys that even now.
The Primaries have come and mostly gone and Mother is blissfully unaware of the infighting. But one day she asked me while we watched the news, “What do you think of him?” She was pointing to Donald Trump who was answering reporters questions. I said “I am not sure what I think.” And she said “I think he is brave.” I thought that showed she watched with at least a modicum of recognition even though she still does not really recognize any other contender for the presidency. After Indiana, she may not need to. But she cares not at all who wins the presidency in 2016.
Life goes on for her as the birds feed hungrily at the several feeders, two hanging ones and one attached to the house.
Let’s count them Mother, shall we?