The gift of the elders

Yesterday I visited my 91 year old mom as I do every few days.  Immediately I could see that it was one of those days when she seemed almost not of this world anymore.  Not in a bad way, but as a gentle reminder that her human life is waning.  I sat with her in her dark living room sometimes reminiscing about so many memories that we have together, sometimes basking in the silence and love.

At one point, I looked at her shelf full of books that were once so dear to her and asked if she wanted me to read something.  She’s almost blind now and even with a magnifying glass, can barely make out print and pictures.  She took her time to answer, and when she finally did, she talked about how she had loved her books because they had opened up such knowledge and so many new worlds for her.

“But now, they aren’t important to me,” she said.  “I can’t see and also my mind doesn’t understand them anymore.  Soon I will be gone, and the world will go on without me. What is most meaningful is love and family and kindness.”

Yes, oh how we know this in our very core.  In our deepest heart.  But with the clamoring of the world and our busy lives, we often forget.  But what if we listened deeper?  What if we lived as if we were at the far edge of this human life staring into our own passing?  What if we listened and felt deeper into what is showing up now? What then becomes truly important?

In this beautiful cycle of life, my mother nurtured me when I was young, and now, she offers me simple wisdom.  In between, as mother and daughter we had many experiences, both difficult and rich, that offered great opportunities for us to grow.  Now our gift to each other is simply to love.  It is the greatest gift of all.

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8 thoughts on “The gift of the elders

  1. I love what you share here Lorraine, also shared on our walk yesterday. It touches me deeply again. It reminds me of time spent with each of my parents in their waning days. And my mother’s searing proclamation in a very tender moment when she mustered all her strength to sit up and drill into my being the truth that my old age will come sooner than I think. I am still taking that in, more deeply as time goes on. And appreciating what your mom now reminds us, how each moment is a gift unlike any other, never to be repeated, to be savored in the moment. Let’s honor that elder wisdom that remind us: Much of what we think is so urgent soon becomes inconsequential; the sweet pith of what makes each moment so precious is the thread of love that ties us all together. As you name it, the greatest gift of all. ❤

  2. What a gift your mom was and still is to me. Such a huge hearted human being whose great love is touching countless beings through you and your brothers. And it shines in our kids now. Her legacy, our legacy. What we truly are. ❤

  3. Lorraine, the Gift of Elders brought tears to my eyes. So beautifully written. So thoughtful. So much meaning and depth. Thank you dear sister for sharing so eloquently. Love, Mimi

  4. Dear Mimi, in so many ways your sweet comment means so much. I feel incredibly lucky to be your sister and share this amazing life journey. Thank you for all your love and generosity and great humor. ❤

  5. So touching and powerful, Lorraine. I feel for you with your mom’s days dwindling down and yet I envy you, too, because you two are sharing what’s most important and have discarded superfluous fluff that doesn’t matter anymore. *hugs* to you.

  6. Lucky daughter, lucky mother. This is beautiful, Lorraine. Not a day goes by that I don’t wish I could have just one more hour with my mom.

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