I have had the privilege over the past 8 months of walking a tough part of life's journey with an incredible elder couple. Friends for many years, childless, generous with their time and love, they have lived life fully. Married for 60 years, they experienced all that life offers with great dignity and optimism.
But now it was that time of life where solutions aren't easy and a ready laugh doesn't fix the situation. Christine was struck down with a virulent form of cancer, and in 2 short months her twinkling blue eyes and mischievous grin were gone-barely enough time to realize the gravity of the situation.
It was the best of times and the worst of times. Odd how we say and do all the thoughtful and meaningful things we think, only when we are faced with these dreadful timelines. But this is the time when memories flow, 'I love you's" become common, and procrastiation disappears. We are present, and in that presence we enjoy so much; we are so enriched. Little gems of a person's life emerge one last time, and we relish them and commit them to memory.
These stories of a life well lived need to be preserved and shared. Beautiful vignettes of another time, great stories of courage, coping and love. Surviving London in the 1940's necessitated all of this.
With the elders in your life, find time to hear the stories, over and over again,and make sure you pass them on. In the merry-go-round that is life, get off the horse for a little bit longer when you visit your seniors and, if possible, allow them to reminisce just a little bit longer.
I have enjoyed many cups of tea (milk in first), with Christine's husband since her passing and every time I come away with a new appreciation of their history, and of the potential I have every day to create my own story, one that hopefully my children and friends will care to hear and share some day.