After spending a weekend with my husband's 94-year-old aunt and dealing with my own 85-year-old mother's "issues" this summer, I can't help but compare their lives and look-out on life and think I have some "keys" to being happy.
Both women are the sole survivors of their families, having lost parents and siblings. My mother has children living close by to help her out, whereas my husband's aunt never had any children and none of her nieces or nephews live close by. She has worked her entire life, both at her full-time job and as the financial officer at the church. She has had to move to a care facility a year ago because of some health issues, but gets up early each morning, gets dressed and puts on her makeup, and goes about her day. I swear everyone in town knows her -- you can't take her anywhere without people always coming up to say hi and talk with her. She doesn't let dwell on the negatives in her life, but stays positive. She's involved in living, watching the twins baseball, visiting with friends inside and outside of the care facility. She refuses to nap during the day because there is too much living to be done. I think the lesson I learned from her is to keep active, don't isolate yourself, and live in the moment.
My mother on the other hand, dwells too much on herself, how she lost her last sibling and has no one to talk to, her health, and how bad she feels. She is a loner, refuses to go have lunch at the Senior Center, and keeps herself isolated feeling sorry for herself. She states she is ready to go, but yet runs to doctors and hospitals all the time.
I want to be Aunt Evie when I grow up.
|Aunt Evie with niece Christine|