Yesterday when I got in my car, the warning light came on. It
said, "maintenance needed...low tire pressure, oil change due, windshield
wiper fluid empty." I thought of the irony of this. I thought how I felt 5 days ago my mother was diagnosed with vascular dementia. I
wanted to scream “maintenance needed" at the top of my lungs. Maintenance needed for myself as I felt I was sinking, falling into a place which I did not want to go.
Six days ago I delivered my
mother’s prescriptions which were recently prescribed by her doctor. I was concerned for her and
thought delivering these medications would provide an excuse for dropping in.
On that morning I found my mother confused, disoriented, fully disrobed and
unable to stand or walk as she sat on her bench in her bedroom. I asked my
mother how she felt and she responded “I think something is wrong.”
I called 911 as per her doctor's recommendation. I'll never forget that feeling of panic as I took my mother's blood pressure The reading was so high I feared she might have a stroke. When the EMS arrived Mom couldn’t stand up or walk. She was agitated and said she didn't want to go to the emergency room. She been there only 2 weeks ago.
What ensued was 10 hours in the emergency room, admission to the hospital, and the diagnosis
of vascular dementia. Skilled nursing was recommended for Mom upon discharge which was in 3 days. Scurrying to find a skilled nursing facility for rehabilitation and
visits to assisted living or memory care post skilled nursing facility.
Visiting my disoriented mother in the hospital, dealing with financial concerns, and long seated strained family dynamics. All the while trying to
balance life with my family as things were falling apart. I felt deep sadness and anger
at the disease that has enveloped Mom. I felt fear. The fear of what has happened to Mom. The fear of what might be.
Updates to concerned family and
friends, fitful nights of sleep and tears in those wee hours of the morning. Attempting to keep a sense of normalcy for my adult son who lives with me as he is attending
college. I tried to act strong and capable while feeling feeling a deep sadness. I felt disbelief, guilt and anger. Why is this happening to Mom? Why so soon; why so severe? This wasn't how it was supposed to be.
Constant reassurances to Mom when I visited her in the hospital. Taking care of her cat, Tess, while
disregarding my own because I arrived home late each night due to the many tasks which arose. Feeling exhausted mentally, physically and spiritually. In a word, depleted.
I had the strangest
feeling two days ago when I visited my mother. She was in the hospital and
was recently diagnosed with vascular dementia. She was receiving speech therapy
and I sat in the corner of the room, just observing. I watched my mother interact
with the speech therapist. She tried so hard to find the right words when the therapist asked a question. It became clear that she was unable to retrieve the majority of past or present life events. She would then become frustrated and
agitated. At one point she could not recall my father’s name. A
man she was married to for 45 years. A man who was the love of her life. My mother said that she wanted to stop working
with the therapist. It was clear that she was aware of the deficits in her
As I sat in that corner
of the hospital room observing my mother, I had the strangest feeling. I
recognized the woman who was lying in the hospital bed.This was the woman who had raised me. The woman I always adored, the woman who, without fail, was always there for me. She had the same beautiful wavy red hair and the kindest eyes I had ever seen. Despite this I had an
overwhelming feeling that this, in fact, was not my mother. I knew
intellectually that of course the answer to this question was “yes." Emotionally, however, I felt frightened that this woman laying in this hospital bed may eventually not know or recognize me as her daughter. She
will, in essence, not have the constructs which make up one's past. Those essential moments which color the history of a person's life.
That was the question I
was trying to answer as I sat in the corner of that hospital room on that day. If my mother could not remember her past or present, would this woman still be that person who I called mother?
We’ve all had that moment when we forget that word in
mid-sentence or we forget where we placed an item (our keys, our
phone). In that fleeting moment we have
that fear which hits us as with an exclamation point: “Am I losing my memory?” It’s
concerning at least and frightening at best. If we are past 30 years old and are honest with
ourselves, we all have had this moment. We see a close relative, maybe our Aunt Gert or Uncle Henry, exhibiting signs of memory loss. We see a commercial touting the new drug which will slow the progression of Alzheimer's. This is when we say
“Please, please God, don’t let this be me”. We push down that fear and panic. We relegate it to a hidden compartment inside of ourselves each time these feelings arise.
I’ve recently been dealing with a parent who is suffering
from memory loss. She has been diagnosed with vascular dementia. My brother and I are trying to be
there for my mother, emotionally and physically.
We listen and nod at pauses in her speech as she searches for that lost word. We want and need her to see that she is okay. The memory loss is wearing her down, mentally, spiritually and physically. We stop by her apartment to check on her; to make her a meal; to take out her trash. We assure her that we’ll always be there as we stuff down our concerns. These concerns come to us
late at night as we lie in bed hoping for a few hours of sleep so that so that we may escape our present day reality. Throughout the day we do those things which need to be done. We put on a brave face even though, internally, our emotions move from deep sadness to anger to frustration. We tell
ourselves that we are doing what needs to be done, yet continue to worry that it may not be
enough. There is no pill, no amount of alcohol which can dull the pain or remove us from this new reality.
The most difficult, heart wrenching thing about it is to
hear your parent acknowledge the fact that he or she is aware that they are losing
their memory. They say they know friends and family are worried. Truth be told they
are concerned as well.
Today was Easter Sunday. We gathered at Mom's as we do every Easter. We tried to make things normal and light hearted. We tried to avoid looks of
concern as our mother would pause as she was talking or relaying a story.
After the meal, after the clean-up and time spent with Mom, we said our “I love you’s.” We said our goodbyes. A few hours after returning home I felt
compelled to return to my mother’s apartment.
She said that she was happy to see me.
I wondered if she realized that I had been with her just two hours
before. I wanted to let her know that I
was there for her, to listen or to just spend time.
My mother said today that she realizes her memory is
failing. She said that she did not want to be a burden to her family. Isn’t that the thing we all fear most? Losing
our memory or becoming physically and/or psychologically dependent on our
I remember when my grandfather (my mother’s father) began
suffering from memory loss. He had undergone a thorough work up at a hospital renowned
for diagnosing memory impairments in Omaha, Nebraska. The tests were
inconclusive yet the doctors said that they suspected Alzheimer’s dementia. Back then there were no medications to slow or
prevent further memory loss like there are today. My grandfather voiced his concerns regarding his memory loss as he struggled against the fading away of his memory.
The first signs of his deteriorating memory involved difficulties in doing his activities of daily living. Then there was
the driving. He would get lost when navigating through Bedford, Iowa. This was a small Iowa town
in which he had grown up and had lived for 70 years.
I remember the phone call from my grandfather late one night
after my grandmother placed him in a nursing home. My grandfather said that he
knew he was becoming forgetful. He said he feared he was losing his mind. My grandfather
was from hardy stock. He was a tall, strong man whose ancestors hailed from the
Netherlands. He was an Iowa
farmer who was also an intellectual. He was a person who, although always present,
lived a life of the mind. Typically, he
would rise at 5 in the morning to read the Des Moines Register or the New York
Times before he would begin his chores. Would he have been born at a different time in different circumstances I
am sure he would have become an attorney. He loved the law and the significance it played in our lives.
Tomorrow my brother and I are taking my mother to a
geriatric specialist. We are hoping that
he will provide us answers to my mother’s failing health and memory
loss. We want to give our mother hope that things can get better. We hope that for her sake (and ours) we will get those answers. We pray fervently that she is not a victim of the big
We’ve all been there. In that relationship that just doesn’t fit. It is analogous to that furniture which
so appealed to us in the showroom and which we ended up purchasing. When we get it home we fervently attempt to
make the furniture fit. We move it around the room, we upend it, we juggle it
and even hang it from the ceiling. However,
despite all of our efforts it just doesn't fit.
Red is now in for those in touch with modern day
fashion trends. The ironic thing is that a good red lipstick has and always
will be in. It's a classic and classics are eternal. I first wore a red lipstick back in my early 20’s. I didn’t wear
it every day as I was, and am, a minimalist when it comes to all things
(including makeup). Back in the days when I chose to wear a red lipstick, I wore
Max Factor Paris Red. It was the perfect shade of red for me--red with a blue
undertone. It was affordable for a girl on a limited budget. It gave the
illusion of a confidence that belied a girl of 21. I wore Paris Red on those days and nights when I needed to feel powerful; at those times when I wanted to make a statement. Much to my chagrin Max Factor discontinued this shade a few years ago. Now
in middle age I can better afford the alternative red lipstick as a substitution
for Paris Red. I now wear Coco Chanel Rogue Coco Gabrielle on those times when I need a boost of confidence. Despite that, I still miss
the hue, the impact, of Max Factor Paris Red.
There are exactly 726 pages in
Julia Child’s How to Master French
Cooking, Volume One. I have read
them all, page by page, much like I read a gripping, riveting novel. I have
studied, highlighted and jotted notes in the margins.
One night I unexpectedly landed
upon the boeuf bourguignon recipe. In brackets, it says “[Beef Stew in Red Wine
with Bacon, Mushrooms and Onions]. Julia Child goes on to introduce the dish: “…Carefully
done and perfectly flavored, it is certainly one of the most delicious beef
dishes concocted by man, and can well be the main course for a buffet dinner.”
The recipe for Julia Child's bouef borguignon appeared on pages
are 21 ingredients and 25 steps to follow, meticulously, to recreate this dish.
Preparing the boeuf bourguignon recipe is an arduous and all encompassing
process: it involves cutting, simmering, sautéing, slicing, sprinkling,
tossing, cooking, pouring, skimming, mixing, and serving (not necessarily in
As with the
most enjoyable things in life, the anticipation of that object or experience
takes an excruciatingly long time. When the actual experience appears, it is
fleeting and passes in the blink of an eye.
Such was the
case with Julia
Child’s bouef borguignon.
It took 4 ½ hours to prepare—4 ½ minutes
for my family to devour.
My father gave me a small
yellow book, Poems by Robert Frost, when I was 8 years old. The book was tiny and fit in the palm of my
hand. My father read these poems to me
each night for 20 nights until the book was completed. He told me to always keep it nearby as there
were many life lessons in this tiny book. My father was right. I still carry it with me today.
My son got back from a date tonight with a girl he just met. He said her name is Jasmine. I asked him how it
went & this is what he said " She is quite tall, quite intelligent, quite beautiful.”
He asked me why I was looking at him & not saying a
thing. I said that at the right time he
needed to tell her this. He asked me how I knew this. I said " Believe it or not at one time, I was that girl:"
I took this afternoon off to travel to my father’s grave
site. It was a spontaneous decision for me and quite unusual to do on the spur
of the moment. I am a planner of all things; a scheduler of when to do
something and how to do it. Today was not that day.
I typically visit Dad’s grave with family as we take Mom to
the cemetery, usually two or three times a year. The Dallas Forth Worth National Cemetery is
enormous and usually takes a map to navigate it. I’ve memorized that Dad is in section 14F,
site 116. He is in the row with three trees standing as sentinels. I’d like to think this is reflective of his
three children; Joni, Jeff and me.
Today I felt that I wanted to visit with Dad alone. I’ve been feeling in the last few days that I
needed to feel his presence. I wanted to
tell him that everything is all right. That his family is moving forward in
life as he would have wanted. I felt
compelled to let him know that Mom is okay. I wanted to let him know that I’m
trying my best to fulfill the promise to take care of her as he asked me to do on
the night he passed away.
I wanted to assure Dad that even though it's been just Quentin and me for many years, his youngest grandson is doing well. I wanted to tell him that he is working hard to earn his bachelor’s degree in
business and he will do so in the next year. I wanted to let Dad know that
Quentin has grown into the man who he wanted him to be. That he is strong and kind; faithful and true.
I wanted to tell Dad that I missed the times when I could
talk to him about anything. About the
joys I’ve had, about some of the sorrows. About where I am now as well as where
I am going. I wanted to let him know
that I missed the times I had with him and that even when we sometimes disagreed
I always loved and respected him.
I think this desire to visit my dad was brought on from a
conversation I had recently with my friend, Siobhan, who I have known for 25
years. We began our friendship while
both serving in the military. The other
day Siobhan asked about dad. I told her he had passed away over 10 years ago. I
shared with her how difficult it has been to deal with his death and his
absence in my life.
I had forgotten that Siobhan and I had, many years ago,
discussed the sometimes complicated relationships with our dads. I think this is often the case, particularly
when a father and daughter have different outlooks on life.
Siobhan said that although we had both experienced the loss
of our fathers she felt it may have been more difficult for me. I asked her why she thought this was the case. She replied that when I lost my dad, I also lost my best friend.
We all have that person in our lives who with or without
intention, strikes out at us cruelly, typically out of the blue. It may be something they said or something
they didn’t say—a sin of commission or a sin of omission. The reasons for this are endless: a jealousy,
a resentment for something real or imagined.
Perhaps even a spitefulness that periodically spews out.
My grandmother was guilty of this. It may have been a
deeply buried sense of her frustration of not living the life she
envisioned. My grandmother was a
beautiful, intelligent woman who came from a family who might be considered
affluent even by today’s standards. She married my grandfather who was an Iowa
farmer. Perhaps she became restless and
frustrated at the life she had chosen or the life that had chosen her.
Regardless of the root of my grandmother’s vicious
outbursts, they did occur. Oftentimes
seemingly without rhyme or reason. The primary target of her lashing out was her
family. When I got older my mother told me how her mother had, at many times in
her life, targeted her and verbally berated her.
I knew from spending time with my grandparents in the
summers that my grandmother had these tendencies to focus, to hone in on one
certain family member. The next day she would act as if this occurrence hadn’t
happened. I recall one night when I got
up to use the restroom. I was staying
the weekend with my grandparents as I attended college nearby. On that night I overheard my grandmother
berating my grandfather. As was always
the case with him, he was calm and measured.
He never struck back.
I was shocked at what I heard and was conflicted as to what
I should do. I felt that this was
something between my grandparents; that this was something I should not be privy to nor witness. The next morning,
I nervously got up and took extra time to shower and dress before I went into
the kitchen. My grandmother acted happy; as if nothing were wrong. I was quiet and pensive as I ate my breakfast. When I did find the courage to speak
about the incident, I told my grandmother that I had overheard her last night. I
told her that I heard her saying horrible things to my grandfather. She looked
at me, guileless. She said that I must have been dreaming; that this never
My mother had said that this pattern of behavior was common
for my grandmother, both when she was growing up and as an adult. That it seemed easy and natural for my
grandmother to act reprehensibly then deny that it had ever happened. It became what my family referred to as her
“magic eraser.” Needless to say, my grandmother never did change these
My father was amazing in that he never once treated my
grandmother, his mother-in-law, unkindly. When discussing my grandmother's bizarre and spiteful behaviors, he would say that she did the best she could do.
Both my grandmother and my father have been gone for many years. I’ve had time to turn these ideas over in my
mind; to try to make sense of them. I
often return to those words from my father: “She did the best she could do.”
I think now, as an adult, I may have a better understanding
of what my father meant when he said that.
It’s not that he was condoning or excusing my grandmother’s cruel and
erratic behaviors. I think he simply saw
her as a deeply flawed woman. He somehow knew that her pain became lessened by
expelling it. Whether purposefully or unintentionally she spewed this pain out
on others. So I think when my father said “she did the best she could do” he was
saying that maybe, just maybe, my grandmother was not capable of doing any
better. She did the best that she could do.
I met with a young woman several months ago for a counseling session. She was in her late teens. In that age where a young woman feels pushed and pulled by how she sees herself and how society expects her to be. I found myself wanting to reassure her that she was unique and worthy. I wanted to tell her that if she waited for just a few years, that indeed she would come unto her own. I struggled with how to balance the need to reach out to her, to reassure her that all was well. Then it came to me. I told her to always remember: you are nothing less than special.
grown up in Iowa, I enjoy the smell of the outside, particularly in the early
morning. As an adult now living in Texas, I typically rise in the early morning
and open a window, allowing myself to breathe in deeply. If it is overcast and
threatening rain, I enjoy the heaviness of the air mixed with dew on the grass
and trees. If it is to be a sunny day,
the air seems lighter and crisp. Either way, those smells of the morning air,
in the quietness of early morning, become part of me.
in the day, one of my family members assuredly will come by and shut the window.
They will cite allergens or humidity as a reason
to close it and run the air conditioner.
Such is the way of modern life. Sealed
in, safe and hygienic.
I was quite young, perhaps 5 or 6 years old, I would visit my grandparents on their
farm in Bedford, Iowa. Once a week, my grandmother would wash the clothes
outside in the shed when it was first light. She did this to spare herself the
heat and humidity of the Iowa summer. After the clothes were washed, she would
run them through a wringer to remove the wetness.
clothes were then hung on the clothesline, one by one with wooden pins. I’m certain my grandmother viewed this chore as
a routine part of life on the farm, but I saw it as a dance. My grandmother always wore a loose cotton
dress while doing the wash outside. She would stoop and take hold of a shirt,
shake it twice, and pin it to the clothesline, seemingly in one fluid motion.
clothes would dry slowly, as if enjoying being there at that point in time. Hours later, when the clothes were dry, my grandmother
and I would remove them and place them in the wicker laundry basket. We did this slowly, methodically. I would be
on one side of the clothesline and my grandmother on the other. As I unpinned a shirt I would breathe in the
smell. To this day, I can recall it. It was somewhere between that crisp Iowa air
and the sunshine, like an open window.
I was so busy worrying about the turmoil in the world last night that I forgot to mention how fortunate I am. I have a son who, at 23, wakes me up at midnight when he gets home. He wants to show me the harvest moon.
Me: How is the writing going? Hope I wasn’t forceful in my
Him: I dug your remarks. Actually the most recent writing
work I have done is for my book. I have
a new element that Kim says makes my main character seem a little crazy. So, I
know I’m going in the right direction.
Me: We’re all a little bit crazy. That’s what makes us who
we are. Without our own crazy we would be like everyone else. One last thing about writing: it provides a narrative/a
platform for who we are or who we were at a certain point in time. If we are fortunate enough to share our story
with others, it may become, in some small way, a part of their narrative as
This has been a
process. It wasn’t something I knew or at least acknowledged ten or fifteen
years ago. For me, it is the deepest yearning to live this life that I know was
the true me. I’ve done the expected marriage in the expected suburb. The expected life with the expected car with the expected
second marriage. For me the turning point was when my father
died. I knew somewhere deep inside me there was a release of
expectation and of a life that was safe. My husband wanted a divorce
and I did not fight it. I knew that this freedom would enable me to do and be
the me that I had secretly coveted.
My son is now 23 and I
am 54. We are taking a leap of faith and will be traveling for 2 months
in Europe this fall. For 64 days we'll be exploring Spain, France, Belgium, the
Netherlands, Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, and Italy. We'll be
traveling lightly and by train so that we may see the countryside unencumbered.
I wanted to take this
trip with Quentin so that he might experience places and people I had at 18. At
that time, it seemed that the world was a much safer place, however I am not
certain that was the case. Perhaps the events occurring in the world
were not covered to the extent they are now. Perhaps the world is a more
volatile place. If that is so, then so be it. I won't allow these
events to deter me from sharing this experience with my son.
We all know that
commercials loudly trumpet the opportunities available to us upon retirement. I
know, however, that if I don’t do this now then I may never do so.
I am not the backpacker and hosteller that I was in my teens. I am,
however, the woman who, with a few accommodations can still experience the
vagabond life I had envisioned.
I sometimes feel an almost palpable anxiety and fear that if I do not travel to
these places I have longed to visit and/or revisit that I will regret it. When my grandmother
was in her 80’s she shared with me that the one true regret she had was not
seeing Switzerland in her lifetime. This was the country from which her family
had immigrated. Eighty years on this earth and not once allowing herself this
experience. I knew then and there that I would not repeat this
pattern. That this is not how my story will end.
This autobiographical work surrounds a period in my life when I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder as an adult. A social worker and psychologist by training, I suddenly became the patient. This short narrative follows my journey from young adulthood, being diagnosed, receiving treatment and recovering. The message of this work is one of hope. I truly believe that bipolar illness is a gift and not a curse.
My brother and I met for
coffee today as we periodically do. It’s
just the two of us during these times. We meet to talk about many things; at
times we talk about nothing. It is the time we reconnect, both as siblings and
as friends. We discuss situations in our lives, thoughtfully, and laugh at them as well. During these meetings I often discover things about my
brother that I had not known previously. It amazes me that we’ve been siblings for 48 years, and still I uncover things that I did not know about him.
Today we touched on the topic of forgiveness. Later that day my mind kept returning to this
theme; this theme of forgiveness. It
became clear to me that in the end we sometimes feel compelled to forgive
others who have wronged us. Maybe this is due to our age or maybe it is because we somehow know it is that time to let go. This is not
necessarily to benefit the other person who, knowingly or unknowingly, made
them the person to forgive. We do so
because if we don’t forgive, it will eat us up inside. It may happen now or it may happen later, but ultimately we must forgive. We forgive for the altruistic reasons as
well; this is what Jesus taught us and this is what we should, as individuals, do.
My brother said that for him the process of forgiving must be tied to a physical act.He said he will walk around the lake where he
lives, a mile around it, 16 times.One
mile for each year he feels he has lost due to the person who has wronged
him.It seems that for him, the actual
act of forgiving is tied to a visceral feeling. I suppose, for me, forgiveness is the cleaning out, emotionally, of the
pain and resentment towards the person I feel has wronged me. So it’s not about
the goodness in me.It’s about the need
to let go of that long held bitterness and anger. It is the time I must loosen my grip and let it go.
Jan was my first best
friend. We became close friends when she and I
were 5. I lived 6 houses down and across
the street from her. Perhaps some
wondered why we became friends, as we were so different. Tall for my age, I was big
to her little. She was quick and birdlike.
I was the slower one who always felt apologetic for my height. Despite our differences, maybe because of
them, we became instant friends. I think
it may have been because we were both “tom boys” and enjoyed spending most our
time outdoors. In the summer, we would race out the door after breakfast. We would spend the long days riding our bikes in the
hot, humid Iowa sun. When we’d come home
for dinner we were tired and tan from the hours spent outside. We smelled like the summer: popsicles and sunscreen; sweat and happiness. Our hair
would become lightened and freckles scattered on our faces by the long days in the sun. Those
summers were times of innocence. They were a time in our lives when the only
thing concerning us was how we could fill those endless summer days. Summers
seemed to be an eternity at that age and we never looked past the next day. Those times were a gift. They became the stuff of memories to file away; to recall
when we got a bit older, when life was not so innocent and pure. It is rare now for children to spend their
days outside in the summer. On those
scarce occasions when I witness a young girl or boy doing so, I am vividly reminded of childhood happiness-- of simply living a summer day in the sunshine.
is my favorite time of the day. Dusk. It is the time
whereby I may put away the business, the hurried tasks, the things which have
occurred during the course of day: rushed early mornings, long hours worked,
family cared for. Dusk is the time to file the day away and prepare
for a tucking in, for a saying goodbye to that day.
this night, the sky is lit by the pinks, purples and blues reserved for a
Texas sunset. The clouds are wisps of white; like the cotton on that favorite
tee shirt which is soft to the touch.
go for a walk at this time, every night. I take my dog, Sadie, with
me. Being true to the Beagle that she is, she sniffs the newly mown
grass for those scents only she will recognize. She takes a drink from the pool
of water left on the sidewalk from the lawn sprinkler earlier that day. She
looks at me as if she is pleased she has found this treasure.
it typical in early March in north Texas, it is warm but not
hot. There is a slight breeze that cools my neck. When I
get home, I put my feet up and rest. It is time for winding down. I have a half bottle of wine which sits beside my favorite glass on a round table beside my chair. The wine glass has a chip in it from years ago, when Sadie, then a
rambunctious puppy, knocked it to the floor. Somehow that flaw makes the wine
taste better. The chipped glass evokes memories from when both Sadie and I were younger. The wine sits on the table beside a stack of my favorite books. These books are not downloaded to my tablet
to read, nor when I read them do I play music in the background. For me, it
seems disrespectful somehow, not to give these books my full attention. The
authors did not write them so that the reader could briefly scan the words,
then hurriedly move on.
Periodically a quote will resonate with me. I allow myself to pause and quiet my mind so I may think about the quote. “What did Hemingway mean by this? Who was his audience?” I hope not only to gain
a better understanding of the work, but also to become a better writer myself
by reading, by digesting these words.
Time invariably goes quickly as is usually
the case when doing things we enjoy. I look out the window and am always
surprised that dusk has surrendered to night. I have these things beside me: the books, the
chipped wine glass, Sadie and the night. These things are my
companions as I say a private “thank you” for the gift of another
I met with a
client today who was referred because he had recently lost his wife of 50
years. We talked about various things as you do when you’re getting to know
someone. Towards the end of the session I asked him how he felt about his life
now. He became silent and contemplative.
After several minutes he said, “Life can have its ups and downs, but
when you really think about it, overall it’s damn good.” I thought about what
he had said throughout the day. “Overall, it’s damn good.” Wise words. I
couldn’t have said it better myself.
I recently came back
from a trip with a few of my close, dear friends. We discussed the fact that we
are all now, officially, middle aged. The question, always inevitable, came up:
“How do you feel about being your age?” I am 1 month & 3 days into my 54th year.
All of a sudden I had an epiphany. I realized that I’m happy. This is not a
transient, “I’m where I need to be” stage dictated by others.
I’ve lived a great
life, yet not without the turmoil we all face when we have truly lived life in
all of its richness. I have stretch marks which bear witness to the fact that I
have given birth and I am a mother. I have a few lines on my face which are a
testament to the life I have led thus far. I am not perfect; no one is. But I
realized that I am, truly and completely happy. I have a few good friends and family
members who I genuinely love and who genuinely love me. I am closer to the Holy
Spirit than I have ever been. As such, I am able to give of myself to others in
a way that makes my life (and I pray their lives) richer. I am taking care of
myself in all ways. Along with prayer, the newly found practice of yoga has
become a part of my daily life. It has transformed my mind and body. I have
lost 100+ pounds and I am stronger than I have ever been.
A few months back I looked in
the mirror. I discovered that having lost a major amount of weight I was
skinny. Not the type of skinny of the
runway models we see on the catwalk. I’m referring to the
fact that I now had the body of a 12-year-old boy! As such, I began mindfully,
purposefully practicing yoga. My goal has been to become stronger, to reflect
on the outside how I felt on the inside. Here's the thing: I don’t have the body
(or mind) of a 21-year-old. Heck, I don't even have the body of a 40-year-old.
But you know what? I look damn good for “a woman of a certain age.” The best part of my story? I have many more
years of life to live & many more adventures to experience. Life is good.