Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Silver Hair (Michael McNevin)

From today's TUT: Note from the Universe:

In the end, Susan, all you have are memories, and usually the ones you have with friends are the ones you treasure most.

I got you, babe - The Universe

Not that there's really an "end," Susan. And "usually" means there are indeed exceptions - like dancing in the dark, walking in a park, and some of those really loud sneezes.

Over the weekend, I set up a page for mom on the CaringBridge website (which a few friends had told me about) - I've added a few since my last post here... and you can check there periodically or sign up for e-mail notifications every time I post an update...

How strange to think that today makes four weeks I've been here at mom's - as the days unfold, I'm finding my own routine, as well as ours together. It's been ages since I experienced life in a small town (since our during- and post-college days in Carrollton)... and Flowery Branch brings back such good memories of friendliness, innocence and connection - whether I'm in a store or out in "traffic" or at exercise class, there's just a different, less hurried/harried feeling to my life. The slow Georgia drawl is a metaphor for the stretching out of time - this all seems to have a been another blessing in disguise for me, as my Florida schedule had become exhausting and paralyzing...

I have to talk a minute about the women in the seniors aerobics, which I've been attending fairly regularly (aiming for 3 times a week) since my arrival - all in their 70s and 80s, they've been so friendly and welcoming... and it's comforting to take a break from the illness at home to their light-hearted chatter of grandchildren, gardens and knitting. I've grown quite fond of non-stop-talking Shirley with her knee brace, perpetually-arriving-late Charlotte with her pearl-buttoned cardigan sweater, always-smiling Elsie who is still trying to find a home for her gerbils and immaculately-made-up and manicured Joyce who has suffered some serious health problems and still manages to make it to exercise class - I am in awe of these women, who have become my role models by not just showing up... but by not giving up...

I finally finished Crooked Little Heart by Anne Lamott (which I'd been working on for well over a week, not my reading modus operandi at all!) - I so enjoy her writing... and wanted to share a few passages that hit home:

Charles groaned, shifted. She tried to imagine the effect that their being around for his dying was going to have on her and Rae, and Rosie. She didn't know what that effect would be, because it was like a tiny green shoot whose flower was growing in the dark, but sitting with him today gave her this hard gift: it let her acknowledge one incandescent part of the world that would soon be gone, extinguished.


She heard Rae's footsteps recede, and then Elizabeth felt grief trying to pierce her or trying to get through to her to save her: it was hard to tell. Crying withheld feels sometimes like dying. Finally when she started to cry, she was so deluged with mucus and tears that she didn't think she would ever again get a full breath.

I semi-blogged about this song over at Star Maker Machine - remembered the perfect poem to go with it... so decided to recycle it here... :-)

POEM: I Confess by Alison Luterman

I stalked her
in the grocery store: her crown
of snowy braids held in place by a great silver clip,
her erect bearing, radiating tenderness,
the way she placed yogurt and avocados in her basket,
beaming peace like the North Star.
I wanted to ask, "
What aisle did you find
your serenity in, do you know
how to be married for fifty years or how to live alone,
excuse me for interrupting, but you seem to possess
some knowledge that makes the earth turn and burn on its axis
But we don’t request such things from strangers
nowadays. So I said, “I love your hair.”

QUOTE(S): "Women are always beautiful." ~ Ville Valo

"Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. ~ Samuel Ullman

"The great secret that all old people share is that you really haven't changed in seventy or eighty years. Your body changes, but you don't change at all. And that, of course, causes great confusion. ~ Doris Lessing

"It's important to have a twinkle in your wrinkle. ~ Author Unknown

"It is not by the gray of the hair that one knows the age of the heart." ~ Edward Bulwer-Lytton


  1. Susan

    listening to you go through your mom's illness and the life around a senior center, makes my own parents aging less scary..

    Lately, Ive been asking "when did i turn 49" maybe what am i really asking is "when did I turn 50". My own parents have ailing health. My mom had lasik that brought her a wrong lens in her only good vision eye ( she suffered a burst blood vessel while upset at work and lost almost full vision in one eye) and her specialist f&&ked up her only good one..
    Dad who survived heart trouble, prostate cancer, Jaundice and Hep C now is facing a knee replacement this summer. They are resilient but they are aging.

    Dad cant do things he used to do... Lifing cases of soda is hard, cant climb a ladder to paint the ceiling ( i had to do it without making him feel less of a person )

    Aging... doesnt have to be hard.....

    thanks susan
    and know I am thinking of you daily...

  2. Dear Susan - a quick post to say I'm thinking of you


  3. Hey, sharon ~

    It is incredible to me how amazing these women are - I am in constant awe... and have vowed to continue to eat healthy and move my body for however many decades I can. I found out today that Catherine has a heart monitor - she was joking that one particular exercise wasn't strenuous enough because her device didn't beep!

    Seems as if resilience (like your parents) is the key - "move it or lose it" is a cliche for a reason... :-)

    Enjoy every moment with your mom and dad - the older we get, the faster the years fly by...

  4. Hey, Catherine ~

    Kind thoughts are always appreciated, no matter the length - thanks for keeping us in your circle of caring... <3