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fate

I let myself believe in fate, often.

I think of Stretch as a gift of fate, a cat that was meant to be in my life. This because he showed up on my porch, first the front, then the back, as if he knew we belonged together. Never mind that others had seen him trying to insert himself in their lives, showing up on their porches, an enterprising cat, before he showed up on mine.

I think about my life, my time on this earth, I find myself thinking "my time has not yet come" or that I am "meant" to do this or that.

Perhaps we create meaning in our lives to make them more bearable, to go forward.

I remember my mother, her attentiveness to trivial matters, like reorganizing the kitchen cupboards, trying new recipes, taking pictures of birds on her feeder. I marveled at her absorption in everyday things even in the last days of her life. She never reached the point of "letting go", of removing herself from this world, that people seem to reach who know they are dying. I won't be like that but it impressed me in an odd way. Such a joy of living that she went ahead with chemotherapy for throat cancer, knowing this disease is inevitably fatal, a rapid killer, and she was already over eighty years old. Perhaps it is this kind of spirit that causes many elderly people to submit to "heroic measures" to gain just a few more days, weeks, months, of life.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
_sophera_
Mar. 31st, 2004 09:19 am (UTC)
Maybe when you get very old the inner and outer worlds become a continuum. I remember being told of one ancient priest who, when he said the words of the mass, interspersed them with current ruminations, such as, 'I must go and see Mrs.So & So...'. Apparently nobody minded.
judith
Apr. 1st, 2004 12:44 pm (UTC)
There really wasn't any difference between my mother's behavior when she was old and when she was a lot younger. That's what was so amazing to me. Except one thing: in her final years she worked with a priest to help control her drinking and the conversations she had with him somehow made her more open and accepting of others, more understanding in a way I never would have thought possible. I was very impressed.

The same thing decidedly did NOT occur with my father.
_sophera_
Apr. 1st, 2004 10:43 pm (UTC)
Out perceptions of what it is like to be old can be strongly influenced by seeing our parents age. However, there are so many other issues involved here it's hard to apportion cause and effect.
judith
Apr. 2nd, 2004 06:18 am (UTC)
I didn't think I was doing that. In fact, my perceptions of what it is like to be old have very little to do with my parents. It is a new experience for me, every day, finding out what it will be like, on my own. It did not occur to me to ask them about it!

I was not near either parent, either physically or emotionally, as they aged. I saw my father more often, because he lived closer. What I did notice is that the two fo them tended not to change significantly in their basic views of life.

Except that my mother did start to become more open and accepting. She loved everyday life and would have been happy, it seemed, just going on doing it forever. That had always been so, from what I saw. But her view of the world, otherwise, did shift in the last few years, and I do attribute this to her work with her friend the priest.

After my mother died, I talked to my brothers and sisters, asking what they most remembered about her, and I found out that she was a different mother to us all. She was remarkably creative, driven, and curious. She did many things in her life. I think that she channeled her energies and creativity in ways different from what many women would do today, simply because she was a woman. I did not sense that she felt any resentment at being held back in the ways that she was - for example, when she and my father entered Taliesin, both as apprentices to Frank Lloyd Wright, my father made it clear that she was NOT to become an architect; he said "There will only be ONE architect in this family". My mother told me this many years later, when I asked why she didn't pursue architecture.

Anyway, I grew up with my mother, and got to know my father as a young adult. I am writing only about them, not about others who age.

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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