For the sake of discussion, let's just say that by the time you get close to the age of 70 and on beyond, you've seen, heard and been through most of the really big and bad life has to offer. These are things you have conquered. If you are not recovered from their effects, at least you're on a course to do just that.
Together and alone, we try to make peace with those painful parts of our lives. This isn't an easy thing. It should also be said that this pain of living tends to want to pile up on us unless we learn to accept it and move on.
Few of us choose to live in misery and sadness, though I have met some folks who are more comfortable there than any other place. I've always wondered if they really like it there or they just hide out in that dark place. Either way they have made the choice and will fight like a tiger to stay there.
Many years ago I was blessed to know a woman who had a reputation for hating everyone and everything. She was in constant pain and her words were her chosen pain relief. She would say horrid, cruel things with such expertise that I was in awe. I asked where she'd learned to do that.
"Experimentation. I scream until people leave me alone or bring me what I want." We talked a long time that day. I admit to being afraid of her but it was my job to see her at least once a week. I advised her that I would not tolerate her abuse. I only left once. It was the following week. That was the week we reached agreement without even talking to each other.
She suffered from rheumatoid arthritis in its most cruel form. From her 20's onward the disease crippled her body and filled her mind with pain and disappointment at the life she never had. She was an avid reader and her room was filled with books. She was a brilliant scholar and loved to talk about books. She struggled with stories of her early life and we always returned to her world.
Descriptions of her world in a nursing home and in her voice should have been recorded. To this day, her words come to me. She wanted Jello warmed so she could swallow it. No pudding. No mashed potatoes. She wanted food which tasted good and food she could swallow. She wanted to go to a bathroom alone, even though that was not possible. So many things in her life had been lost and were no longer possible. Her fury was earned and palpable. She had a loving family who had become exhausted. She had caregivers who felt the same.
She wanted a warm Jello diet. That was it. The one thing in her list of impossible dreams. She wanted more books.
There are times in life when you have to disconnect. This was one for me. She was moved and then released to Heaven or something kind of like that. I doubt the devil would have wanted her there. I can only think of the joy of freedom for that twisted shell she lived in and wonder at why God would do that. I regret not being with her when she died.
I started by saying that it's the little things that bug us and love us. If someone you love wants noodles on mashed potatoes you should do it. If they want warm Jello... give it to them. If they REFUSE to wear an alert necklace around their necks... leave them alone. Yup, that means I've already heard the I'm not a dog speech. Some folks love those necklaces and I am glad they do. My great-granny turned blue on a concrete bathroom floor in her nursing facility apartment before she got someone to come and help her. Her alarm cord was just out of reach. She lived happily until the age of 92 with her new necklace on.
Now... to you. If you don't feel like cleaning house today... don't. If you want to go out for dinner... please do. If you want to spend the day binge watching happy movies, please do. If you decide to go on an overnight adventure with a friend, or alone... just do it! I'm not sure about you but I've spent a lifetime not doing some of the little things I wanted to do. Things like going to a movie in town or a trek down Netarts Bay to feed the fish. This week I'm getting a pint of Gelato. Why? My youngest daughter taught me how delicious this is during her visit this past weekend... small but WOW!
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