When I was a little girl I had a great aunt who kinda freaked me out. Although there was something I really liked about her (jovial, warm, inviting), her body emitted an unpleasant odor and her skin had a vaporous quality. I recall that she was close to 100 years old, which in and of itself made the 5 year old me a bit uneasy. Fear overruled curiosity and I’d hold my breath and pray that we would leave soon.
In those days a gentle introduction about what I might encounter was replaced with the expectation that by the very nature of exposure and, of course, my own good manners, I would at least marginally cope with the situation. I didn’t.
However I have to wonder if a positive result was the ultimate outcome since these days my company of choice is elders. The translucent skin, the scent of aging, pales in contrast to the wisdom the fun and the freedom that I sense is part of this developmental stage. These teachers are helping me to understand the meaning of life through rich, rewarding, incomparable lessons on life, love and be-ing.
I’m planning on sharing these lessons and in order to approach it from the most pertinent viewpoint, I’d like to ask you what challenges you have faced or currently face. Do you avoid being with your parents, grandparents, other elders who are at the stage of life that isn’t featured in fashion magazines? Do you have difficulty knowing what to say or do? Do you find reasons for not visiting? Too busy, too far away, too……..?
As I observe and question family members it’s evident that this is uncharted territory. We revert to what we know while dealing with a stage we know nothing about. For many, it’s uncomfortable and unsettling. There’s a lot of guilt for not doing more and frustration for now knowing what that “more” might be.
We have a wonderful opportunity to enhance this time of life for all involved! Won’t you share your experiences?