Gratitude Sunday: In The Presence Of

Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down, to reflect, to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes, our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.

Quote of the Week – “The most important thing I can tell you about aging is this: If you really feel that you want to have an off-the-shoulder blouse and some big beads and thong sandals and a dirndl skirt and a magnolia in your hair, do it. Even if you are wrinkled.” Maya Angelou

Sunday Haiku
Slate, steel, battleship,
gun metal, dove breast, sky hung
clouds, layered color.

Sunday Musings
Occasionally one finds oneself in the presence of grace.

This week I had to go to a local medical facility for a blood draw for some lab work. As I was checking in, the door behind me opened and two women walked in arm-in-arm. The younger woman could have been any woman of middle age, slender, kindly, caring, supporting the weight of an elderly woman at her side. The elder was tiny, four foot eight, maybe, and about as big around as a stalk of asparagus, dressed and coiffed for a day in public, earrings and lipstick in place. I could tell from her non-stop dialogue that in her day she’d been feisty as hell and her day hadn’t stopped any time recently.

Her voice, not harsh or rough, rather like a little bird twittering because the rain shower was over, carried the melodic accent of her youth and original language, maybe German, or Yiddish, or Russian, or Middle European. I can’t differentiate accents without asking and this was not a moment to declare my curiosity and ask. I wanted to turn around and stare, to absorb this delightful older woman into my skin and cells, but I only opened my ears, giving the women private time. We were, after all, in a medical facility and medical issues are still considered private.

The elder spotted her nurse behind the check-in counter, and clearly said, oh there’s my nurse, and her name; obviously she was lucid and totally coherent. The nurse came out from behind the counter and greeted the elder woman, re-introducing herself with the question, “Do you remember me?”

The elder woman, who had not stopped talking for one brief second even while the younger woman and the nurse had spoken, said, “Of course I remember you. This is my daughter” and she introduced her daughter to the nurse.

Then the elder woman said, “And this is my husband. You can’t see him, but he is right here with us.”

I got goosebumps, chills up and down my spine, and the hair on the back of my neck stood up. It was everything I could do not to turn around, as I was sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that had I turned I would see him standing there clear as day, holding her arm on the opposite side as her daughter, with his little nearly bald head tufted with soft bits of white frogfur (a technical description in the barbering/hairdressing industry), the curve of his stooped back matching hers, his eyes full of love to still be with the only women he had loved all his life. I didn’t turn, but I “saw” a tidy warm house full of children and now grandchildren, a garden out back, and a pot full of chicken soup on the stove.

The nurse, the elder woman, and her daughter went through the door into the hallway beyond. I grabbed a tissue from my pocket and started dabbing my eyes. I began thinking too much.

No, I didn’t think too much about “seeing” the old man, or “seeing” a house and family. Those “visions” could have been super-cognition or imagination. We “receive” more of this kind of information than we realize; we just don’t have a name for it, or we don’t acknowledge it.

I started thinking about aging, which because I am beginning my older years, I seem to be thinking about a lot these day. Like I can’t believe I’m really aging (denial), I don’t think I’m doing it well (uncharted territory), I can’t afford to be old (fear), everybody around me is aging too (yikes!). Experiencing new things about my body like differences in walking and bending and body temperature and digestion, changes in thinking and sleeping, and altered abilities in stamina and endurance are a bit frightening to tell the truth. We don’t talk about aging because we generally marginalize elders rather than continuing the millenniums-long tradition of multi-generational living, at least here in America.

We have few studies to rely on when it comes to understanding aging, and in the modern medical paradigm the model is the middle-class white male. And the model has been medicalized over the last 75 years of the pharmaceutical industry, so we have little information on what “natural” aging looks like. What do we truly know about aging? Does one’s vision change? Does one see different things one didn’t used to see, or things other people around you don’t see? Do the things one sees change as one nears the end?

Here was this dear woman, lively, engaged, lucid, seeing life and after-life and not letting one bit of it pass her by, still spending her time with the man she adored. Maybe that’s the clue. We need to pay attention and talk about aging. Share our “organ recitals”, you know, all the things that have gone wrong with the body, and then sharing how we have coped, or figured out new ways of moving, or thinking, or how to gain relief from the unrelenting body pains of aging.

We need to share. We need to see each other and see what they see. We need to share our time, our owies, our stories, the different things we see and how we see differently. And as in past generations, we need to share those stories with younger people so maybe they can have a clue of what to do or not to do as they move inevitably toward those older years as well. If you get a chance to be with older people, listen to what they have to tell you and try to see what they see. Time creeps by so fast.

Color Watch – colorful attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Once again those hardy sedums give us luscious shades of non-edible lime green. Green and blue-gray pine needles. Spring is coming early in the Pacific Northwest; spotted the first of the pinkish heathers. Last week’s picture of snowdrops was wishful thing, this week I spied with my little eyes one of the first batches of snowdrops in the neighborhood.

Current View – {These are only my opinions about movies and books, but don’t let me stop you from trying these reviewed items yourself; your opinion may differ.} A Long Way Down (2014, rated R), with some favorite actors, Pierce Brosnan, Toni Collette, and Aaron Paul. Four strangers trying to commit suicide meet on New Year’s Eve on the roof of the building. * Pretty in Pink (1986, rated PG – 13) with Molly Ringwald. It’s been many years since I originally watched this movie, and it was fun to see all the actors who have gone on to make their careers like James Spader (the ultimate rich bully-boy) and Jon Cryer (forever the “friend” boyfriend); they were so young then, as we all were. * We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011, rated R) with Tilda Swinton. A child is ill-conceived, traumatically birthed, fails to bond with his mother, and ends up performing heinous acts of destruction. His mother survives. Chilling: this is a scary Halloween style movie, psychologically devastating.

Currently ReadingFinding Tom Connor (2000, fiction) by Sarah-Kate Lynch. Ms Lynch likes to go places. In this novel we start in New Zealand and end up in Ireland. A betrayed bride-to-be runs away from her ne’er-do-well bridegroom-to-be (not a moment too soon) in search of a long lost uncle. Learning To Be Old: Gender, Culture, and Aging (2003, aging and psychology) by Margaret Cruickshank. I am so her demographic: aging, female, poor.

This week I have been grateful for:

  • Having only the challenges I have.
  • Relieving the house of invading squirrels after they figured out access into the walls.
  • A new month and the subtle return of the light.
  • The relief a hot shower can give.
  • Cooking shows on TV. Still learning.
  • Avoiding the local viruses going around. Knock on wood.
  • Hand washing. Soap and hot water.
  • Paper clips, scotch tape, staples, Sharpies, and file folders.
  • Noticing I was feeling puny-er and starting my tai chi exercises again, after a two month hiatus because of broken toe, now mostly healed. I’m still a beginner, but this time I’m familiar with some of the exercises.
  • Ibuprofen and microwave hot packs because the first week of any new exercise makes my body think hell is a nicer place to live than my body.
  • Seeing, vision, and extra vision.
  • Water.

Hoping you have a lovely week.

Namaste. Peace. Blessings.

Floral ribbon border by Laurel Burch

Top picture borrowed from free internet

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2 Responses to Gratitude Sunday: In The Presence Of

  1. Mary Ann Cauthen says:

    I have read your writings for several years, & this one today really speaks to me. I am 73, & I am just realizing some of the aging problems that I’ve never considered. Your last paragraph about sharing & slowing down to be nice to people about brought tears to my eyes. I am thankful for people like you, good writing & yes , water! I live in GA. Thanks for sharing thoughts. Mary Ann


    • sassy kas says:

      Thank you so much for saying, Mary Ann, and thank you for reading me! I often think I am writing into the wind, you know the blatherings of an old fat poor woman. Except I have this brain that compels me to say something when I see injustice. And there is so much injustice. Is that GA the state of Georgia, in The United States? Just curious. ❤


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