Monday, August 15, 2011

A Musician's Mother

My mother unexpectedly found herself pregnant with me when she was 42 and delivered me at the age of 43.  She is now 88 and I'm 45.  I'm sometimes asked if I am her grand-daughter.  (I wonder how long I'll look young enough to get by with that!)

This past June, she fell in the middle of the night and suffered an injury to her spine.   In the midst of this physical setback, we just finished moving her to a small apartment.

I have been spending so much time at the retirement home where she lives, that someone asked me if I live there.  Another person asked me if I was an employee.   Though I certainly have been working there, the benefit package is a bit unusual.

On her first day in her new apartment I decided to stay and have lunch with her in the dining room.  I wanted to meet her table mates.  What an experience!

I knew it was going to be fun when a woman sat down and said something like, "It's hard to find your glasses when you can't see without them".

I met some wonderful ladies who could have filled my afternoon with stories.  
  • a former probation officer of 20 + years (now 97 years old)
  • a former missionary to Africa who had a terrible accident and had to re-learn how to do many things.  She now lives in the retirement home, thankful to be walking again
  • another woman used to ride motorcycles (we started talking bike-talk right away)
So picture us sitting around the table, some hard of hearing, some hard of remembering, but all finding themselves in the stark reality of aging.  It was a bit hard to make conversation, but we managed our way through it.

Then there's the whole system they have in place for not wasting the food they can't eat.  As I was laughing at the colorful bags they bring with them to lunch so they can store the leftovers for later, I realized that I was pouring sugar on my dessert instead of into my iced tea.

Perhaps I should look into getting a room there.  I feel like I'd fit right in.

I'm not finding much time for anything else these days except spending time with my mother.  The song writing will have to wait, but in the meantime, I'm learning to look at life through the eyes of those who have lived their song and could use someone to listen to their melody, even if they only remember parts of it.

I know one thing, I must treasure the time I have now to enjoy life at my age.  AND I want to find ways to nurture the elderly I come in contact with to help them remember the rich times of their lives.