And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? (Matthew 6:27)
At 85, my mom had her knee replaced and is getting around fairly well. She needs the other one done, and other body parts hurt her, of course. (Hint: if your knee is killing you in your 70s, don’t wait till your mid-80s to get it replaced.)
Still my mom seems pretty spry compared to some of the other residents. She continues to swims laps in the community pool.
During my last visit, I realized that patience—a quality I’m woefully short on—is a must there.
Elevators are slow to come, and embarking and disembarking residents are even slower. Most of them use rolling walkers with hand-brakes, they say to help them tote laundry or food trays or packages from the mail room. Not to help them walk, of course.
Ambulances careen up to the front door at least once a day, and nobody even glances out to see who gets loaded in. They figure they’ll hear the news in the dining hall where they all go to have breakfast, lunch and dinner (with vastly disparate reviews on the food).
[bctt tweet=”Perhaps that’s the blessing and the lesson of growing old: ignoring the imminent. “]
Once a week or so, a chair empties in that same dining hall, and widow or widower sits sans partner, but with many others who understand just how they feel. More frequently than the residents might desire, an apartment opens for a new occupant. The cause might be graduation to the memory care unit or some hospital off site. Most often, it is death.
“Remember Cliff?” my mother asked after my last visit in October. “He died choking on his food in the dining room.” (If you follow my mother’s rules, you chew your food 100 times before swallowing and avoid that fate. Food gets awfully cold though.)
Still, death, somehow, can come as a surprise there. The husband of my mother’s best friend died a couple of months ago, and the friend was shocked. He had been in a critical care unit for nearly a year, but funeral plans had not been broached.
Perhaps that’s the blessing and the lesson of growing old: ignoring the imminent. Living life today liked you lived it yesterday and free from worry about what will come next.
What wisdom to you have to offer as you grow older and learn that worry cannot add a single hour to your life?
Terri Lackey is director for communication for Women of the ELCA.