My Aunt’s name was Mildred. Some called her Millie. As children, we couldn’t say Mildred or Millie, so we called her Aunt Moddy. She was young at heart and drove a red Mustang. She told fascinating stories of giving children free ice cream cones when she worked at an ice cream stand. We never knew if her stories were true, but we loved hearing them.
Aunt Moddy filled our lives with laughter and fun, but when she was older, she became sick with cancer. After treatment, she lost her hair and wore wigs. When I visited her in the nursing home she went to live in, she sat on the side of her hospital bed laughing and talking- telling stories – continuing to make everyone smile and laugh. Looking back, she was brave and as I watched her grow weaker and weaker, I remember thinking how sad life is at moments.
As children, life was simple. We went to school, did homework, played after school, made friends, watched TV, and dreamed of being older. Older people had money and could go wherever they wanted, stay up late, and do all the things we dreamed of doing. We thought everything would be great when we were finally ‘older.’ The Beach Boys even sang a song, “Wouldn’t it be nice if we were older…”
Since becoming older, I wish I could sit and have a chat with the adults from my childhood. I would tell them they how distressed I am because they made life look so simple and uncomplicated. They never seemed strained or worried. Time just seemed to go by easily as they did the things adults do. Now I see it all differently.
Sometimes life is filled with love and laughter and hard work pays off and all is well with the world. Other times life is challenging with sorrow and loss and grief and struggle. The longer I live, the more I have said good – bye to beloved family members and friends and pets. I have watched treasured friends falter into memory losses and struggle with health issues. Some close to me have struggled with addiction or sorrow and personal loss. As we are older, there are mortgages, car payments, bills, good and bad relationships, responsibilities- all can be challenging events in a day to day life.
Good friends and family are priceless to me because they help me muddle through the ups and downs of life. As I share with them, they share with me. It is comforting to know ‘I am not alone.’ We share many of the same struggles, the same ups and downs, the same happy and sad times as many of those around us. We’re in this together.
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