My brother and I were Facebook chatting today when he mentioned that our mother had dropped some 'crazy' comment into the dialogue as he was visiting her the day before. He said that after he picked his jaw up off the floor, he proceeded to deflect the conversation onto safer, neutral territory.
It brought up several thoughts as we texted back and forth about self-editing. We were both thinking it had something to do with our Mom's advanced age and perhaps the onslaught of dementia. But then I started thinking further about Mom's original comment and realized that I have young friends who would have asked the same thing. These folks say what they are thinking without screening their comments. Sometimes I admire their openness and wish I was that free to express myself but other times I wonder about their inability to see the ramifications of their openness.
I think what amazed my brother and I was that our Mother who had been the epitome of propriety and henceforth 'respectability' was finally able to speak up and say what she was thinking without cleaning it up for her audience.
I was also thinking that perhaps it has something to do with the fact that she no longer has my dad around to discuss life's little observations with in a private arena. You know what I'm talking about, those things you are just trying to figure out which become fodder for 'pillow talk'. Mom has outlived the first tier of companionship and has to rely on the second tier of comrades to edit her statements.
So has my Mom changed, or are we just becoming privy to more of the 'real' her?
Which brings up other thoughts about aging - the first being that as a person ages do you begin to see the 'real' soul, the one that may have been sheltered behind closed doors and closed minds for all those years? Sometimes I buy this - you hear comments about the sweetheart of a grandma who is so childlike and loving and then you hear about the old biddy who is mean and cranky. Maybe that is the 'true self', but then again, maybe it's loneliness, pain or other physical maladies caused by wear and tear on the body and mind.
My second comment about aging is about middle age and women. I've been exploring the whole menopause conundrum and I cling to the positive aspects rather than the negatives. I've embraced the concept that it is a second adolescence (as if the first wasn't tough enough, we get to do it again). However in that vein it is amazing and liberating to know that we can re-create the self that may have gotten lost during the intervening years of parenting and working. There are many examples of older folks who are seizing the day and making the life they desire for their remaining years. Part of this recreation may be the elimination of self-editing for the sake of propriety and the opening of the self to new possibilities.
I'm just thinking....any comments from the peanut gallery?
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Friday September 10th was opening night for the Dana Point Tall Ships Festival. Eric was with his boss and business associates in LA, so I joined our friends Alan & Leah Newman, Steve & Cynthia Broadhead and their friends Palma and Norm for dinner and bluff top vistas of multi-masted ships doing battle along the coast.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Last April, my brother Ken unexpectedly passed away. The young father of nine, he struggled with health problems for many years, which impacted his ability to do for them, all that he wished he could. Many tears were shed at his funeral service and when it came time to lay him to rest, the family snuggled beneath the protective awning that guarded his final resting spot from the rainswept skies. Following the graveside services at Larkin Sunset Gardens, the majority of visitors hurried to escape the drizzle, but close family tarried for a few more quiet moments of reflection. As hugs and conversations continued, in the distant northern skies a bird was spotted floating on the downdrafts of the receding weather. Individuals watched without cognizance, until enlightenment suddenly dawned, this was not just any bird, but a bird of prey, a hawk to be precise, the very animal my brother had adopted as his personal symbol! As family members turned their faces to the north the bird glided, swooped and flew regally along as it was joined by another and another until finally eight hawks were seen, the number of his children present at the cemetery. The flock passed directly over head and then to the south end of the valley where they disappeared as quietly as they came. In this moment of tender mercy, we felt comfort that although Kenneth was no longer walking among us, he would be eagerly watching and guarding his children because of the loving compassion of another kind Father.