Saturday, March 31, 2012

How Do I Know Thee, Let Me Count The Ways

In the title of this posting, I took a little liberty with Emily Dickinson's famous poetry, "how do I love thee...." I've been struck recently about deep deep things like life and death and legacy, about an individual's story and how each of us leaves a mark on this world. My brother, Mark's wife, Alice, died this month. She was only 3 months younger than me and she and Mark were married in 1966. Over those years, we may have only seen Alice about ten times. Mark was in the Air Force and they moved around a lot the first five years of their marriage and then they settled in Bellevue, Ne., about 600 miles from here. I do regret that throughout those years I never really got to know Alice. Neither of us were conscientious about writing and her five children and our three children and then her eight grandchildren and our six grandchildren kept the days and months passing by without connection. So, it was beautiful to see on Facebook, testimonials and reflections from her children of just what a loving and compassionate being that Alice was. At her funeral Mass, her nephew spoke a bit of her story and shone more light on her goodness and uniqueness. All five of her children are warm and welcoming, kind and loving and in getting to know them and their families, we get to learn more about Alice. May she rest in peace. P.S. When we came home from the funeral trip to Bellevue, the pictured black bunny seemed to have taken up residence in our yard. Since Alice had dark black hair, we named the bunny, Alice.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Closely Gaurded Secrets of the Elderly

One of the craziest things about getting older is that only your exterior ages. Inside you still have the heart of a child. Games and stories and friendly people still delight you. Nature and all its glory still stirs your soul as your five senses grasp its multifaceted displays. The soft stillness of a sunrise, the flaming dramatic sunset, the warm summer rain, the crisp clean grip of a cold winter day, the smell of woodsmoke on an Autumn stroll - you loved these things as a child and you love them still. I remember clearly how I regarded my in-laws when Bing and I were in our twenties. I thought they were old. They were in their mid fifties. When we made it to 50, we were astonished to see that the fifties are still young and you feel no older than before. Now it seems that a period of twenty years is about the gap that makes you think a certain age is elderly. In the 40's, anyone 60 or older, in your fifties, anyone in the seventies. Now at age 70, I still look at those in their nineties as quite old. But gradually I'm learning that age doesn't mean much.. Those in their 70's, 80's and 90's still love the little things of life - games and stories and friendly people. My little secret is sledding. We live in a place where no neighbors can see me whiz down the hill to the lake. I love it. It tickles my inner soul to feel the rush of wind as I pick up speed on my own personal luge chute. I love the workout of climbing back up the hill and starting all over again. I love the cold cold air on my warm warm cheeks. I feel young and specially blessed.