Aging Well

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“Oh, I’m too old for that “.

Spoken by someone 80?

Spoken by a young man. He was too old to learn to snowboard.

So often aging fosters an ageism attitude against living life in crescendo.

It creates the perspective that there is a ‘proper’ age for pursuing a life pleasure.

Even a simple life pleasure.

Like pierced ears.

Unlike babies today who get theirs pierced at six months, I had gotten mine done at the age of twelve. As so often happens (apparently), the holes kept closing up, as I stopped wearing them while caring for my young sons. Glittering gold in a mother’s ears tempts babies to touch and to pull.

When I occasionally attempted to wear pierced earrings, each time I painfully re-pierced them. Finally, I gave up, boxing my mostly gifted, pierced earrings.

I reasoned that I was too old to bother having my ears re-pierced.

Yet, if a child of ten said ,”My earholes are closing up, but, I won’t bother, I’m too old to get my ears re-pierced“, we’d laugh.

Too old?

Surely a ridiculous concept for a ten year old.

Yet, when a man or woman of 60+ says this, people typically nod in agreement.

Getting ears re-pierced is not a big deal nor is it expensive.

Yet, ageism held me back.

Where do we get the concept that we are too old?

Exactly what age is too old for challenges?

Exactly what age is too old for learning?

Exactly what age is too old for adventure?

Aging may effect both body and mind.

It need not affect aging well in spirit.

 

Live Life Aging WellAn eighty year old I know bought season tickets for this upcoming fall theatre, which commences in six months.

Therein lies the spirit of aging well.

Living life in crescendo means aging without ageism.

For me, aging well commenced with re-pierced ears.

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Remembrance Day 2017

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Blood splattered everywhere.

Quick

Reload

Movement

Turn

Fire

He watched as his attacker crashed nearby, blood streaming from the bullet hole through his heart, soaking his shirt.

The shooter advanced, monitoring and stalking movement on the terrain. He would not, could not, be caught unawares. His very life was at stake.

There

Quick

Crack

As the rifle shot split the air, he raised his fist in silent celebration

To himself

Survival.

Briefly.

This relentless advancement must continue, knowing at any time, he…

“Jeremy”

Mission Incomplete.

From his comfort of his bedroom Jeremy responded, “In here”.

Some wonder if young men like Jeremy today would sacrifice their future hopes and dreams to fight for the right of others in the future to hope and to dream. 

Just as they did in the past, young men and woman have and will respond.

On this Remembrance Day, from the comfort of our bedrooms, let us honour all those who responded in the past,

Honour those who will respond today.

Honour those who will never be home again.

Honour them.

(Annual re-post)

 

Memorial Planning

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Resplendent in my yellow satin dress, I watched them head down the aisle and out the front door as I sang537750_387474191341295_903780686_n her chosen song. It was not a traditional recessional song, but one with a toe-tapping beat. The ballad lyrics sentimentally celebrated her faith-filled abiding love yet the beat had me singing with zeal and gusto. Breathing in deeply to quell my welling tears, I headed to the church hall to partake of the waiting feast, and to accept the condolences for my loss.

Condolences offered on the loss of my mother.

Is it an oxymoron to create a great funeral?

As one ages, arrangements for a fitting services for the death of a parent is often the first funeral an adult handles. Mine was made easier because my mother unexpectedly mailed me particulars for her funeral. She wasn’t ill, nor did we have any reason to expect her dying to be soon.

Yet, six months later I held her personally written paper in my hand as I headed to see her pastor. When he asked if I had any songs or readings that she’d prefer, I felt so grateful to my mother that I was able to simply hand him that paper.

The idea behind October 30th’s Create a Great Funeral Day is to think about how you would like to be remembered and to let others you love know how you’d like your life celebrated. For celebrations take a great deal of planning.

Funerals and Weddings

Consider the purposes behind a funeral or memorial service. It is not unlike a wedding. To hold a wedding there are: desired and required guests to invite, a special venue, an observance of a new life status reality, pictures of people who rarely gather in one place, a festive event afterwards, people tell ing life stories, that are often amusing, and specific rituals to observe.

Holding a memorial service contains all those same elements.

It is held with desired and required guests invited, marking an event that will facilitate a sense of closure for those in attendance, provides attendees an occasion to say relate personal life stories, often amusing anecdotes, and specific rituals to be observed. Just as in a wedding, all people involved have intense emotions around the event. Through the ritual, there is both remembrance, celebration and eventual acceptance of this change in life.

Any death is an emotionally exhausting event. It is challenging to have funeral planning crammed into a few short days; or rather, to plan a great memorial in such a short time that will accurately reflect who you are and what you want your legacy to be.

But, it need not be crammed into those few emotionally charged days.

Create a memorial plan that can be easily adjusted throughout the years while you live your life.

While everyone is eagerly involved with wedding planning, creating plans for one’s own funeral is a last gift for your loved ones.

Funeral or memorial planning requires as much attention to detail as wedding planning. It allows people from various segments of your life to meet each other as each begins the grieving process and provides opportunity for those in mourning to support each other.

It gives family and friends an opportunity to reflect upon a person- YOU- and to share fond memories and remember how you affected their lives. It can be a celebration of your life that you can still be a part of by providing your memorial plan. Many families have rituals around funerals. But, too often, these do not give the personal life stories, the music you’d prefer or a table of mementos that display all that you consider important in your life.  

One day there will be a funeral or memorial service for every single writer that is blogging today. Whether your family and friends leave that event with a solemn reflective song or your toe tapping uplifting favourites can truly be up to you.

At the end of my mother’s service, I stood singing her chosen uplifting song.

I was smiling.

Both the song and the  dress were in that moment because both were in my mother’s memorial plan.   

So was the smile. 

So, if you plan to come to my memorial, please bring a sunflower with you, and a yearning for scrumptious desserts.

Both will be there.

They’re in my memorial plan.

  

Below is an abundant array of links to check out for this unique topic :

https://mysendoff.com/2011/10/celebrating-create-a-great-funeral-day/

http://thewriteconversation.blogspot.ca/2013/09/calendar-daysholidays-special-days.html

http://www.lakeoconeeboomers.com/avoid-a-facelift-funeral-with-create-a-great-funeral-day/

National Post series: How We Die Now http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/10/25/will-technology-conquer-death-new-applications-let-people-send-messages-from-beyond-the-grave/

Allen’s Creating Your Own Funeral or Memorial Service: A Workbook

Available at http://CreateYourOwnFuneral.com and her blog address is http://westallen.typepad.com/idealawg/

Gail Rubin is a Certified Celebrant and the author of the award-winning book, A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die,  (http://AGoodGoodbye.com) and The Family Plot Blog (http://TheFamilyPlot.wordpress.com).

FB even has an app for after you’re gone. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sdzCELofGgE

Mother’s Day

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196309_354299498010521_402835107_nWith Mother’s Day fast approaching, i was determined to find my mother a gift that would make her smile.

Even though I was only thirteen at the time, I knew she was having a challenging year, both personally and financially.

So, I asked her to accompany me to look for running shoes. I had an ulterior motive.

While shopping, I hoped she’d reveal a gift that she’d love to have, but did not have the money to purchase. Knowing her well, I could have bought her practical items. But, this year needed something special to lift her spirits.  

As we walked through several large department stores, I commented on items I knew she liked: pretty dishes, extravagant purses and once, even a painting. Preoccupied with her life issues, she barely even glanced at most of them.

But, after I bought my new shoes, she paused to stare at a particular mannequin.

“Wow”, she said, “Imagine wearing that.”

Ah, at last, a gift that clearly met my criteria!

537750_387474191341295_903780686_nEarly next morning, I returned to the store, excited that the mannequin still displayed its wears.

As I enthusiastically gushed that it was the perfect gift for my 45-year-old mother, the sales woman hesitated as she rang through my purchases.

“These are a little expensive, dear. Are you sure she’d really like these?”, she asked.

Well, of course, I was sure. My mother had told me herself. Price didn’t matter. Making her smile mattered.

On Mother’s Day, as my mother slowly pulled apart the yellow wrapping paper, I could barely contain my hands from pulling the gift out.

Frowning at first glance, she quickly smiled with motherly warmth.

“Why, honey, these really are something. They are so …unique.  I sure wouldn’t want to wear them out. I’ll wear them on only a very special occasion.”

Dangling the hanger awkwardly, she held up the outfit the mannequin had worn:

A sequins studded thick black leather bra- with matching panties, of course.

This Mother’s Day, mothers everywhere will open up equally tacky gifts-

And SMILE.

For all they see is the love that accompanies it.

Happy Mother’s Day.