Tag Archives: Old age

Senior Citizens aka old folks

Today I was on my way home from my Mom’s house, after enjoying the little time with her while she still remembers me, walking her yard and looking at all her many flowers. I have commented before how she is this amazing ‘flower-whisperer’ — and I do wish that was the gift that she had given me — but, NO! I do love them as much as her but the ability to stick a lone seed in the rough dirt and grow an abundance of beautiful flowers … well that gene must have skipped me! Try as I might I only have about a tenth of her success … probably because of the dirt and rain and sun, no help from me!Image It is something that causes me to marvel at her ability to get up everyday and do her chores and at eighty-three it is a blessing she still can.

This brings me to the … on the way home part! I pulled up to a stop light in the rural part of two towns that are seemingly conjoined and I spied an old man, sitting in an old school wheel chair out near the road, pulling a pretty good size tree limb as best he could. Backing up, scooting his feet backwards, hauling that dead tree limb across his yard! With each little scoot of his heel in that kind-of-high grass, he pulled with his one good arm, the other looked paralyzed, but with all he could , he was clearing his yard of debris. It seemed impossible for the wheels to turn very well and it made me tired just watching him.

So as I sat there at thisImage traffic light, in my nice car with air conditioning, a body that is without any known conditions (I am usually holding out hope for a reason for my “out-of-shaped-ness”) (besides the obvious! which is my point) and I am humbled by him. I watched him and he watched me, or I felt like he was … guilt I am sure! He had on dark glasses and what appeared to be not so many teeth and it reminded me of my own dear grandfather.

He suffered a stroke several years before he died and he would not let that get him down. Papa Maxwell was a strong man, lived a hard life but took care of his wife and six (ugh!) kids the best he could. He was my Mom’s Daddy and she loved him more than anyone else, probably even more than us kids if the truth be known. When he suffered his stroke it took a bit for him to get his bearings but it wasn’t long before he was up and going. He had a riding lawnmower that he rode all over his yard and property. He even rode it up and down that old country road … everyone knew to watch for him. He was not going to be that old guy who sat in a chair and died. He was tough and he kept on keeping on until he couldn’t anymore.

Eventually he asked to be Baptized. If I remember correctly, Papa Maxwell never went to church very much .. .or ever. My Granny did, every time the doors were open but I don’t think he did (my family may correct me if needed). But at this point in his life he felt the need to do the thing he knew to do. Makes me wonder if my Granny had ever nagged him about it? Stupid question I guess, she was a wife!

My theology tells me that Baptism isn’t salvation, we must make a conscious decision in our hearts to accept Christ then be born again. Then, as a sign of what has happened on the inside we are baptized as a public confession of our faith.

I never knew if anything ever happened in that order with my papa. I wouldn’t have understood any of it back then anyway and, if he had spoken, it would have been (because of his stroke he couldn’t really speak real words) a cuss word, which he did speak, not one of the big ones, only the same one over and over.

This always cracked me up. Somewhere in my crazy mind I think if I couldn’t speak but a tiny bit, a cuss word would come in handy and I would worry about etiquette later! But, I do know one thing … GOD saw his heart and HE knew what my Papa wanted to do and say in the bowing in reverence through this baptism. And I believe HE honored him in that and my Papa is there with him now.

What does that do to my so-called theology? I don’t know but I believe it anyway!

My Papa worked hard his whole life and was good to every one. He was a fair and just man, not perfect but a good man all the same. SO, when I saw this poor old man today it reminded me first to pray for him, that if he needs help someone will come to his aid. Also, to get up off my keester and make something of my self.

Truth be known, even if someone had stopped to help that old man he probably would have said NO! That’s the way old people are. They don’t make them that way anymore. I am glad that I am old enough to know folks who are that way. I am still humbled by the older generation and the fortitude and character they have. If I could relay this to my own kids I would be a happy momma!

Lord, bless that old man and all senior citizens. They have a right to be crabby — they’ve been pulling us all along for generations!

Soothes MY Soul

Today I spent some time at my Mom’s. It was later in the afternoon and I was getting a feeling for nap time! Mostly because her house is always warm, well to be honest it is HOT! But that is to be expected, she is elderly. I can’t believe I just called her that. Never in all my born days have I thought of my mom as elderly. She never has been until now. Truth be known, if she knew I called her that she would probably skin me alive!

I wish that she could know. I wish she was the same, quick to set things straight, lady I have always known. She is but a shadow of her former self. Her mind has retreated in so many ways and her momentary memory is all that is left. Thankfully she is in good health otherwise, for which I am so thankful, it would be more sorrowful if not. Even so, she is sweet and kindhearted now, two adjectives I would have thought of her in the past, just not as obvious. She was always a good woman, strong and forthright. But she wasn’t much drama, pretty much just a straight shooter. “Just the facts!” (I must be more like my Dad…all drama!)

The time I spend with her now is hard and taxing. The crazy part is that it has gotten hard for me just in the last few months. Before I was able to take it in stride, dealt with it pretty good before, and I even felt pretty proud of myself and felt the need to help my sisters wrap their heads around this disease. Pretty smug considering now it is a struggle for me. I am not sure why, maybe because the amount of loss we have had lately. Losing my sister-in-law to cancer last year took a toll on me I know.

Daily I miss her. Daily I search my mind for remnants of her. I still have the last four voice mails on my cell phone she sent me. I listen to them often as well as the last stream of texts. She was reminding me to be careful on the cruise we were about to board with all the mishaps, husbands and wives falling overboard and all. I think she had an over and under bet on me and her brother and if you knew her and us that would be believable. We constantly ragged her poor brother about everything — not that he ever knew it! It was our own little world. Her being his OLDER sister made for plenty of wars. He was pretty obnoxious I am sure as any little brother can be. I think their mom would make her take him on dates with her and her boyfriends! Recipe for murder I say!! SO who could blame them for their lack of warm fuzzies about each other! She would describe the little boy and I would defend the grown up man — a never-ending test of wills. I eventually won that battle and she agreed. She loved him despite herself which is the best ending of all.

I often remember the crazy conversations we had. One minute we would be deciding on what to cook our crews for supper and then without skipping a beat go into a story of our many yard sale adventures and my search EVERY TIME for a bathroom. YES, I did ask people to use theirs. She would go hide in the car, humiliated yet laughing her a#& off! (only word that can be used there, it is a Bible word, by the way! Just in case, forgive me Lord!) It would almost be a dare and the funny thing was people would let me. She would say she couldn’t believe I had the nerve to ask and I would say I couldn’t believe they would be so dumb to let me!! Me a stranger, though my only agenda was to potty and not have to leave such a good sale to drive a gazillion miles to a gas station. As a side bonus I did get to see some pretty cool houses! We were also famous for dragging home old furniture from the curbs….good times! The best of times and had I known they would be over so soon….whew makes me tear up again.

So when I go to my Mom’s house I guess I am realizing that the time will come when I will have to say good-bye to her. It is all so “in your face” this slow death. It is a fact of life that is a bitter pill. Not for the one who dies but for those of us left behind. I know where my sister-in-law is and I know she wouldn’t come back if given the choice but, still so very hard. Today her son made a funny (to me) comment on Facebook about a driver in front of him and I belly laughed because it was HER spit out! She, like me, was a verbal driver and had no patience for ignoramuses who pretend to know how to drive and when I read his comment it was hysterical.

Things like that give me comfort…maybe I am the only one, but when I hear or see something that reminds me of someone I love it is soothing to my soul. Her children do arise and call her blessed and every time I see a red bird — Cardinal — I am reminded of my Mom, though she doesn’t remember know that she used to love to see them. I do and it soothes my soul. I too will arise and call her blessed.

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