Joy in the age of loss, an article in today’s Philadelphia Inquirer, went straight to my heart – there was a picture of an older man in a wheelchair having breakfast alone at sitting, alone, at a table that sits six. A breakfast setting well-known to John & myself, in Rydal Park’s café; until John his current Wednesday morning commitment, we were there regularly, enjoying breakfast with resident-friends.
I remember even further back, two years plus, when Anne, who lived at Rydal Park for years, & I would breakfast at a table in front of the pictured set up – – back then, there would have been at least one more table, making enough settings for eight or more friends to gather. Every morning, there was the same group of friends, men & women, having a grand time carousing over eggs & pancakes, waffles or whatever. The laughter, the high times, the great & grand spirits. John & Ramie were the group’s Trivial Pursuit masters – – sometimes I’d butt in with an answer!
Over the past few years, first this person then that moved or had health issues that kept them from being part of the breakfast bunch, or died. John & I know people who now sit – by themselves – in the same place they did back then.
Reading the lengthy & terrific article is a a goad to get back in the groove, to swing by – solo – on Wednesday morning’s for breakfast with dear friends I dearly miss.
And it’s a kick in the butt to get Cyber Access for the Technically Timid FINALLY up & running, because “many elders let their social world contract,” too many shrink down when they could open up. Unlikely? Not to my mother, who marveled at 88 that – thanks to unimagined Internet connections – her circle of friends & friendly acquaintances was growing larger, not smaller.
My determination is not just for the olders’ sake – Mom’s online circle showed how youngers of all ages benefitted from connecting to her, learning first hand, real time, of her unabashed attitude toward & appetite for LIVE, her zest for living in spite of being considerably slowed down, her approach to dealing with life & family challenges, her value as a resource of “she was there” history & culture-rooting stories… The reciprocal advantages between Mom & her devoted online followers, many of whom never met her but were among her most devoted friends, went on & on.
Perhaps what Mom showed more than told was the power of purpose, at any age, and the importance of flexibility, of living within THIS moment instead of bemoaning life is not as it was.
Whether twenty-something youngsters or readers inching well into their sixties, Mom’s honesty & humor blew preconceptions about aging out of the water, exemplifying what the article says about how it helps when olders believe life has meaning & purpose, whatever their age. That life is fuller & infinitely richer through a well-cultivated spirit of gratitude, curiosity, continual personal growth.
Smiling, thinking of how much Mom would have LOVED today’s article by the always spot-on Stacey Burling. Looking forward to printing out this treasure & sharing it with friends & family. Even more, looking forward to heading to Rydal Park next week for Wednesday breakfast with David & Rob & John.
And, hopefully, Jerry, too!
RELATED LINKS: http://www.philly.com/philly/news/special_packages/493160931.html ; http://mindwalker1910.blogspot.com/2010/05/velveteen-grammie-by-krl.html ; http://thegrannielistener.blogspot.com/2016/05/in-nutshell-cyber-access-for_19.html