Musings on ageing and death

Sadly, it is a sign of our age.  Two friends in a month have lost mothers. Those of us in our 40s and 50s are afflicted most by this passing of our parents from natural, age-related causes. If we live long enough, we will probably get some life-threatening disease.

I wonder sometimes how long we should live.  My grandmother made it to 103 and died at home.  But the last two years were certainly no treat for her.  She was mentally all there and physically had no disease.  But her legs gave out on her at 101.  Those great legs did a lot of miles over the years. I can’t imagine the frustration at not being able to do for herself any more.

Nan was a widow for 38 years and although she was a heap of fun to be with, she did not seem to mind her solitary life. She never thought of herself as old.  She would not join a Seniors group because she thought they did ‘old people’ activities. In her 70s she enlisted my mother’s help to find a pant-suit so she could lose the skirt and get out on the sled on the back hill with the kids in the winter snow.  I remember her saying “you kids look like you’re having such a grand time and I want to get out there with you”.

Coincidentally a friend emailed me yesterday to say her mother-in-law had died. She reminisced on how she went to Drexel Hill for the first time with me to visit Nan and how she ended up spending so much time there over the years with her beloved in-laws. At the time we did not know it, but her mother-in-law was a neighbour and fellow parishioner of my Nan.

My husband scans anything that will stay still long enough and we just happened to be scanning pics from the era of that first visit to Nan’s in the early 80s.  So here it is.

May we all live long and have legs as good as Nan’s.

Lucky cat

Corky died on 25 March 07. He was a great cat, probably the best we’ll ever have. Big, slow and with a beautiful face. He was a leaner. His size did not lend itself to lap sitting, but he loved to lie on his side with his head pressing up against a person’s leg or foot or whatever was available. On the morning he died he’d just had a nice brushing and a stroke out in the sunny driveway. He just stretched himself out and died. Andrew thought Corky was sleeping. He walked past him and said “hey cat, you playing dead?”. Only a matter of minutes after the stroking and brushing. Lucky cat. Hope I go like that.