12 December, 2008

Every Age She's Ever Been

I'm sure you've seen this brain-teaser puzzle before. Is it a drawing of an old woman, eyes downcast, wearing a frown? Or wait, is it a young woman turning her head away, wearing a ribbon around her neck? Once your eyes have seen one it's difficult to focus on the other again. I dare say that's the way it is in real life. My mother in law is 86, she lives in her own home, with only her little dog for company. She's content, most of the time. We know she's lonely, but this is where she wants to be; and will be, until she can't stay there by herself anymore. We take her anywhere she needs to go outside of her immediate neighborhood, to church, to the mall, to the doctor's office, to the drug store; she's happy with this arrangement. I picked her up for our monthly circle meeting on Tuesday. She was ready when I got there, she was wearing her Christmas sweater. We talked about friends and family on the short drive to the meeting; sadly, friends and family who are no longer living, she had chosen the topic. I felt a sense of sadness seeping in by the time we arrived. I helped her up the steps and went back out to move the car, once she was settled. When I entered a second time she had taken a seat at a table that was already full; I sat down at the next table and couldn't help but notice, as time went on, what a great time the ladies at mother's table we having. All of similar age to mother, these women were not only smiling and giggling(!), but clapping their hands in delight! I was curious about the conversation at that table. I later learned that our female Pastor had asked who at the table had ever worn a crown, been in a beauty pageant or been on a homecoming court. The answer? Quite a few! I never knew that my own mother in law had been a beauty queen when she was sophomore in high school, or that we had a former Potato Queen and Basketball Queen in our midst. These ladies were transported back to happy, carefree days through these memories; back to times when they felt beautiful and hopeful and excited about life. It was a wonder to behold. Mom was happy all the way home, she asked if we could stop at the mall; we did, she was gleeful and chipper as we shopped, I noticed that she even had a slight spring to her step as we navigated between the stores! We talked about mailing packages and Christmas dinner on the drive back to her house, no more sad conversations about departed loved ones. I thanked our Pastor the next day for injecting such a great mood-brightener into our Circle meeting, I explained how it had worked wonders even hours later. She reminded me of this passage, from Ecclesiastes:
"I'M EVERY AGE I'VE EVER BEEN"
( I have put eternity in their hearts Eccl 3:11)
I hadn't thought about it that way, but yes... I am, too; every age I've ever been. I love that! Now, go back up and look at that picture puzzle again. Can you see it, every age she's ever been?
Life is Good!

23 comments:

Karen Dianne Lee said...

I wish you could know how utterly beautiful this is to me. In a very real way I can relate to this. MS, it has its way with you. I guess I can't explain it but thank you for this very moving, important, uplifting post.

Nancy said...

This is an intriguing post, Mz G. I don't know why it is, but for the past few weeks, I've been having flashbacks to the past, to various ages I've been, some good, some not so good. And the feelings are still there when the scene flashes up.

When my mother was living and had Alzheimer's, I used to try to get her to talk about being a little girl; that seemed to have been when she was happiest. It really made a difference.

nannergirl said...

This post has really touched me too. Thanks as always for giving me something wonderful to think about :)

Bonnie said...

Wow! How Apropos today! I love this!

Bonnie

Carrie P. said...

I am so glad your mother in law went to her meeting. It is amazing how being around friends can be such a blessing and lift one's spirits.

quiltkeemosabe said...

A wonderful, beautiful post! Thank you.

Janet said...

As usual, a wonderful, thought provoking post from you, Mrs.G! I'd never seen the picture before and the first thing I saw was the young woman. Does that mean anything? I hope it means that I'm still young at heart! I bet your MIL and her friends see the young woman too! Thanks for a great post!

Debbie said...

Hi Mrs. Goodneedle! Thanks for stopping by Blog Around the World. Just wanted to let you know that you are all linked up!

Candace said...

Hi - I came over from Carrie P's blog....what a wonderful post! I saw the beautiful woman turning her head away first, then I read your story and it was difficult to see the old woman with the frown, but eventually I did. You are so great to take your MIL out - she must appreciate it more than you could know - I can only hope that my elderly years have someone who cares as much as you do!
Cheers!

paula, the quilter said...

This wonderful post made me wish that I was closer in distance to my Auntie. Sadly, there is no Circle meeting like yours that she can attend and I don't know if anyone from her church even visits.

Nane said...

She is blessed to have you nearby!

Teresa said...

I want to thank you for your post today. It brought tears to my eyes but was wonderful just the same. My Dad is in a nursing home and my mom is normally by his side every day, except for now when she is very ill and needing hospital care. But your post reminded me of recent days, when I would get them to talk about their courting days, or Daddy would say something to Momma about being so pretty and she would still giggle and blush. In his eyes, he still sees the young woman, and in their hearts they still feel the young love. Thank you for this reminder.

Quiltdivajulie said...

Adding my thanks for this post ~ just wonderful! You and your thoughts are such blessings (even when you may not hear from us)...

leigh anna said...

i love this

and what a great question to be asked!
i just love that pastor s thought to ask these women such a great question! :)

i wonder if gma still has the spring in her step?!?!

Marilyn said...

I read your blog daily and truly enjoy it. Todays
post could not go without a comment it was so
touching for me personally. Thanks for putting a
spring in my step.

Marilyn

scraphappy said...

What a lovely story. Thank you for sharing it. Those words would be lovely on a quilt.

meggie said...

Very nice post Mrs G! My dear old 86 year old aunt was vital & full of fun. We think she chose when she was ready to go.

Barbara said...

Thank you for this post.....it touched more than I can ever explain. My mother was an amazing lady.....yes LADY. Harsh words were not in her vocabulary, she was always helping someone, and always working on a project for a family member or friend. Mom fed ever person that entered her door, physically or spiritually she fed all. I miss her terribly.....we lost mom long before she parted from this world. Mom had Alzheimers. Two weeks ago my fourth grandchild was born and with Christmas approaching, there have been sad and joyfilled days. My mom never knew any of her great grands and that makes me sad but I also take great joy in trying to be the kind of grandmother to my grands that she was to hers. Thank you for bringing sweet reminders of little things that she did for us all back to my Christmas.
Hugs, B

YankeeQuilter said...

Wonderful story! Thanks for sharing it with us.

Rhonda said...

Oh, this is very interesting! I can only see the young lady. It took me a long time to see the old lady. My DD, on the other hand, saw both instantly.

MARCIE said...

Such a lovely message. But that picture is driving me crazy. I cannot get my eyes to see anything but an old woman with a scarf. Please don't tell me we see ourselves in the picture.

Tanya said...

What a wonderful post!!!! Yes, I will remember you every time I read Eccl. 3:11! I'm putting your name down in my Bible besides the passage and your pastor's insight "I'm every age I've ever been" Thank you

Ancestor Collector said...

This post is really lovely, but even more wonderful is how it affected a number of your readers. You gave them something to think about, memories to recall, important people to remember and lift up. You project something very special in your writings and your words touch many people. I truly believe this is God's work done through you. :-)