Sunday, September 21, 2008

And it makes me wonder...

There is a beautiful young woman who works at the little store up the street from my house. She is radiantly beautiful, with a reddish pixie haircut, beautiful, porcelain skin and big expressive eyes behind modern chunky glasses. She is always friendly, very bright and forever engaging. I look at her and I see youth,  promise, future and destiny.

There was a day when I looked in the mirror and saw those same things; youth, promise, future and destiny. These days I see broken promises, wasted  years, age and destiny denied. This is not written as a negative but as an observation of the cycle of life.

When my daughter lived with me, I saw these qualities in her everyday. I see nothing but a bright future full of promise and excitement when I look into her face. I could feel those emotions and realities everyday and lived vicariously through that. It enabled me to not see myself in the stage of life where I actually exist.

The point of all of this is that even though I don't see a young, fresh-faced girl ready to take on the world in the mirror anymore, all I have to do is look around me. I am surrounded by youth and beauty and  promise and future.

And this is how it should be. We get that fresh-faced life for awhile and then we develop wrinkles, gray hair and disappointment. And in return we develop wisdom, something that is not fleeting, and serves us well in the long run.

So look around you and enjoy the beauty and youth that you see, be that in a person, an object  or just the glory of nature that we are so lucky to be a part of...

Monday, September 15, 2008

This is some birthday gift...

I am receiving a unique gift for my 48th birthday this year. A hysterectomy. That's right, I'll be having surgery on my birthday.

This really is a gift though it may not appear to be. For years I have suffered with this mess. I've tried every option and they have all failed. Turns out, this is the only thing that will give me any relief.

And now that it is a reality, I'm scared. Not so much about the surgery or the pain or even the anesthesia. This is not my first surgery. But it is my first surgery since I've been alone.

I guess what I am scared about is waking up in the hospital and being alone. All my friends work and so I will be coming out of surgery and there will be no one there. I am feeling really scared about that.

I've had surgery twice before and there were people that I knew loved me standing at my bedside when I began to wake up. I know I was groggy and incoherent and not awake for very long but just seeing their faces let me know I was OK and that everything was going to be OK.

I know this sounds so silly. It's really not that big a deal. Why is this bothering me so much?

I think that it is bringing home the point that I am alone. When it really comes down to it, I am alone. My mom is gone, my dad is two states away and my daughter is one state away. There is no one that I can really count on to be here with me.

Now I sound like I'm just whining... What's so interesting to me is that I've always had a fear of being alone. I've had to face this fear in the last five years and have been doing quite well with it. I've been alone and surprise, it's not so bad. For some reason this is different.

Perhaps it's feeling so vulnerable and having to depend on other people. I'm not used to that. I'm used to doing things for myself and not having to depend much on other folks. A friend is taking me into her home for that first week out of the hospital. I suppose there is a lesson here that I am supposed to learn, and that is that it's OK to need people.

Just two more ironies: my ride to the hospital? My ex-husband. The face I will probably see when I wake up, my ex-mother-in-law. She's been the face I've seen through the groggy haze of anesthesia twice before and to her, I'm still family...

So as always, the silver lining to the cloud. I may feel alone but really, I'm far from it. While my closest family and loved ones may not be here, I have the next best thing. And even though I sometimes forget, I am loved.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The little old ladies are trying to jump me into their gang...

Little old ladies have always liked me.

There is a group of little old ladies that ride the bus on Saturdays. They probably ride the bus on other days too but I have noticed a particular group of them on Saturdays.

I have always admired these little old ladies. They are spunky, full of life and don't take any crap from anyone. These women have probably seen it all in their lives. War, peace, The Depression, the boom in the 1950's, the advancing of technology and the demise of the traditional family.

I look at their wrinkled faces and white hair and see in their sparkling eyes wisdom. These gals (my daughter calls them broads, a real compliment coming from her) live active, full lives. They have friends and meet at the Mall for lunch. They keep track of each other and take care of each other when one is in need. I look at them and hope I can live like that someday. They live with joy and freedom, surrounded by friends.

Today for some reason, they reached out to me. By this I mean they included me in their conversation. I was the first one to the stop and one of the ladies walked up and said hello. She then said "Wouldn't it be nice if they could put a bench here?" It was the first time any of these women have spoken to me other than to say hello.

We proceeded to have a long conversation about the neighborhood. She'd lived in this neighborhood her whole life. She told me about the changes she'd seen in that time.

When the bus came, we got on and she met her friend. She said to me "would you like to sit here with us?" I gladly took the offered seat and we chatted until we got to the Mall. When they got off the bus they told me to take care and to have a good day.

These women inspire me to remember that while my youth is passing, some would say it has passed, there is more to look forward to. Yes, that includes wrinkles, gray hair (been there done that), achy bones and more visits to the doctor. But it also includes friends. wisdom and the freedom to wear purple...

WARNING by Jenny Joseph
When I am an old woman I shall wear purple
With a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me.
And I shall spend my pension on brandy and summer gloves
And satin sandals, and say we've no money for butter.
I shall sit down on the pavement when I'm tired
And gobble up samples in shops and press alarm bells
And run my stick along the public railings
And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
I shall go out in my slippers in the rain
And pick the flowers in other people's gardens . . .
But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.