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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

They don't make them like that any more, but they should!

I want to talk about a friend of mine, so bear with me.

My former neighbour has lived in her house her entire life with her brother. She's a lovely outgoing old lady, but her brother had always paid the bills (she gave him the money, but she didn't have a credit card or cheque book), when their parents died, he dealt with the estate and he had a car, and she never learnt to drive. He organised the tradesmen and basically did it all.

He passed away last year, and for the first time in 89 years, she is living alone. She has managed astoundingly well, and has some very good neighbours who have helped her organise tradesmen, and set up bank accounts and a good friend helped her deal with the lawyers and will etc.

I like to visit once a week, or do some grocery shopping (as the 'heavy stuff' is difficult for her), but she has a good group of friends. We've started going to the free movies at the library together as an evening social outing, but I've even dropped her & picked her up when I haven't been able to stay and watch with her.

All these things are difficult in themselves, but when you imagine you've lived your whole life having never done them, it's mind boggling. She's a fairly chipper lady, and tends not to let it get her down, or at least not show too much.

The anniversary of his death was yesterday, and she'd made a plan to see a friend, as another friend had offered to drive her to the cemetery today. I rang in the morning, just to check the plan hadn't fallen through, and it had. Her friend had suffered a loss of her own during the night (we have all this to look forward to, my friends). So I popped around for a cup of tea in the sunshine.

She was a little upset but keep saying "I'm sorry, I'm in a bit of a muddle". That was all.

The thing of note in this tale, is she mentioned how she signed up for the council transport trip to Floriade. It's overnight, meals and transport included. I looked at the itinerary and it's busy but at a pace for those in wheelchairs to manage too. I mention the wheel chairs, as while she's on her feet, she's slow and needs to stop and rest from time to time due to issues with her legs. While we were talking about it, she mentioned she'd not been away by herself in well over twenty years.

This is what awed me. That she has the get up and go, or gumption to sign herself up to do a trip like this, by herself. It will be lovely to see all the flowers. There will hopefully be some fun lovely people for her to eat with. I hope she has a great time. I just can't imagine, at 90, having to suddenly face life alone for the first time ever, that she's so courageous and ready to throw herself into situations that would be out of a lot of people's comfort zone, regardless of age and physical issues.

I'm so proud of her, and she really is becoming a role model for me. I hope I'm still living large when I'm her age, no matter what my situation.

And I guess, that's really what a passion for life is all about. To keep on going when your world shifts monumentally on it's axis. By not just going through the motions but making new happy times, by finding enjoyment in the little joys the world can offer.

Linking up tenuously with The Lounge at SlapdashMama's and FYBF with some Grace

24 comments:

  1. What a legend. I hope I still have a passion for life when I'm an old lady too. I dwell so much on the negative now though and I am still supposed to be young! Hopefully by the time I am a geriatric I will have shed my cares along the way!

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    1. I'm the same, which is why I think i admire her so much - not sure if i'd be throwing myself out there now!

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  2. These posts about getting old are making me wonder about my own twilight years. What a legend. I love seeing elderly people get out and about.

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  3. What an amazing lady, hope I still have that kind of gumption when I'm older. Thanks for sharing! And good on you for helping out, it's such a little thing, but makes such a difference.

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  4. What an awesome story. I actually think a lot of ladies of that age have much greater resilience than some of us younger folk. Maybe we'll all have the same kind of wisdom at that age - or maybe not. As you say, we all have some version of this scenario in our futures. It's wonderful that you are taking the time to get to know her and to appreciate her as a role model. Very moving.

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    1. I think our generation may be made of weaker mettle

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  5. This is a beautiful post. A lovely link with passion as a theme.

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  6. A beautiful story about a strong woman. I couldn't even imagine having to go through that at 90.

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  7. a wonderfully written post. Thank you

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  8. What an awesome old lady and a beautiful friendship you both have. I hope when I am that age I have someone as lovely as you to befriend me.

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  9. What a great lady. I hope she takes many more trips just like that one. There is always something new to see, no matter how old you are.

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  10. Her attitude is awesome. My dad is 71 and is already shutting down his life. For one thing, he's said that he will never travel overseas again. Meanwhile my mum (who is the same age) is off backpacking around Europe every northern summer. It's all about attitude. My dad seems liked an old man because he is. He's already winding down.

    Your friend, despite what she's been through, obviously still sees plenty in the world for herself and at 90 that is pretty great.

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  11. Such an amazing lady and you are so lucky to have each other
    I hope she has a wonderful trip
    Visiting from FYBF and Sweet Little Pretties

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  12. How inspiring that wonderful lady is! I hope I'll always have that passion for life, and have that courage.
    She's lucky to have you as a friend, Lydia. x

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  13. What an inspiring lady. In fact both of you are. So kind of you to keep calling around. I know some elderly folk that don't have anybody. I hope she has heaps of fun.

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  14. This is such a lovely story. So sad your friend is now alone, but inspiring that she is brave and trying new things. I also think it is so lovely of you to continue to visit and care for this lady. Too many people disregard and have little time for the elderly. I find them facsinating and adore conversations with them. It's sad that I lost my grandparents when I was barely in my teens. I would have loved to have known them and talked with them as an adult. xo

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  15. What legends! Your friend for being such a go-getter at her age, and you for being such a good mate to a lady who clearly needs one. You're a treasure Lydia. xx

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  16. She sounds like an awesome lady, and definitely worthy of role-model status! I hope I can be like that one day too!

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  17. What a wonderful, inspiring lady. And good on you for helping out too. Not many people do that for their own parents or grandparents. xo

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  18. What a fantastic post. It's great to have her in your life. It's no wonder you see her as an inspiration. I've been thinking about getting old lately (nothing to do with the fact that I'm turning 42 next week!) and I just wonder how it'll be when those around you and the ones you love pass away, leaving you behind. Sad, morbid stuff but alas, it is a reality...

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  19. What a very brave Lady, and so inspiring. It goes to show that with a willing mind anything is possible - good on her for getting out n about without her family support, good her for organising life and for looking for a silver lining :)

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