Aging, Family, Poetry Month

Life Happens



April is Poetry month. An entire month set aside to encourage us to not only read poetry but to also try writing our own verse. My original plan was to join my friends in writing some sort of poem each day. On April 1, I had just taken pen in hand and opened my notebook when the call came.
            “I’m worried about her,” our aunt’s helper said. “She doesn’t feel good.”

            For the second day in a row, I dressed and drove the ten minutes to her apartment where I found our lovely relative dressed for the day, sitting in her recliner, but looking weary.
            “I heard you weren’t feeling good today.” I said. “I thought we might check with the doctor.”

            “I’m just a little tired. I think I’ll go down and see if I can eat a little lunch,” she replied, ignoring my reference to doctor.

            I called my nurse sister-in-law, and we decided to honor her wishes. After all she was going to the doctor on Thursday, so I hung around and we talked of this and that.

            At noon, I walked her to the dining room before taking off to do some errands. When I returned later, I found her sitting alone in the empty dining area where she had nodded off to sleep right there in her chair.

            “Are you ready to go back to your apartment,” I asked.

            Roused by my voice, she replied with a sheepish smile, “Guess I’d sleep better in my own place.”

           We plodded back to the apartment where she plopped down in that worn recliner with a sigh.

            “Getting old sure is tiresome. I can’t believe I’m the last one.”

            The rest of the afternoon I searched for the garnet ring that “my husband” (our Uncle Chet) “had specially made for me.” It disappears from time to time as does her wedding ring, which I found in the process.  I hope the garnet turns up soon. It always has before.

            I started this poem that evening, but as you can see I’m a bit behind.

                           Life Happens
We make our plans, but sometimes life happens.
Interruptions destroy our finely orchestrated schedules.
A day I thought belonged to me unravels with a simple call.
I go and find her looking “all in” as my mother used to say, 
Yet she insists, “I’m just a little tired.”
At 98 years and four months, she soldiers on,
earthly dwelling, structurally unsound,
Supported by an aluminum walker and sheer grit.
Most of her day, she sits in her chair, watching TV or
Regaling visitors with memories. “Did I ever tell you …”
I think of how someday I may be tethered to a walker and chair,
And I listen as if I’ve never heard that story before.

Is there someone who would love to hear the sound of your voice? Why not call or better yet, pay a visit. 

Even to your old age, I am He, And even to gray hairs I will carry you!
I have made, and I will bear; Even I will carry, and will deliver you. Isaiah 46:4

Aging, Change, Grandchildren, Life Challenges, Spring

Yippee! It’s Spring

Spring is finally here! The forsythia, jonquils, and Bradford Pears have been showing out for days. This week’s burst of glory, along with transitions in our oldest grandson’s life, have turned my thoughts to the changing seasons of life.

Brady just graduated from the University of Arkansas Fayetteville and started his first job in architecture. Are we proud? For sure. Was he ready? You bet. But with all that pride and excitement, he’s also had to handle the stress that comes even with good changes. And his parents and grandparents have entered the land of Happy-Sad by coming face to face with the fact that he is now a full-fledged adult. Where did the time go? and all those other familiar phrases have run through our minds for months.

Terry and I don’t wish him to be a baby again, but it means we’ve aged by 20-plus years and have entered another phase of life too. Have we seen changes in ourselves? Sure thing. Did we want to acknowledge them? Not really. But I’m not sure that’s good. While every birthday reminds me of my mortality, I’m grateful to be on the down side of 60. I’ve had friends who longed to celebrate growing older. I just want to make the most of these years.

And guess what? I hear that 50 is the new 30. I like that! That must mean that 70 is the new 50. Even better. Terry and I had lots of fun in our 50s. You know, children grown, more money and time to do fun things. I’m thinking the next couple of decades are going to be good.

But I’m a realist and I realize from observing my parents and in-laws that the body betrays us as we age, especially if we don’t pay attention. Things get a little harder, but I think achievements are a little sweeter, too.

My plan is to embrace the days ahead, to take better care of myself—body, mind, and spirit—and to dare to be discriminating in my activities. If it’s not meaningful, I plan to say no. If I tell you no about something, it’s not you. It’s just where I am in this season of life.  

What about you? Are you taking stock with the change of season?

  For,“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” I Pet. 1:24