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.


Aging Well: Develop Latent Talents


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“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot


1511916_834909929863282_5932348446737741190_n“Yvonne, could you draw my daughter petting a bunny in our garden, a purple bunny.” Over eighty years ago, six-year-old Yvonne accompanied her grandmother to clean wealthy clients homes. After completing her cleaning duties, she’d pass the time drawing with her left-hand while she waited for her grandmother. Women who owned those homes often paused to admire her talent. Over time, Yvonne spent less time cleaning, to her grandmother irritation, and more time fulfilling requests for unique drawings for the women’s children. Several of these wealthy women approached the grandmother, offering to pay Yvonne’s way through art school. But the grandmother’s pride prevented her from accepting, or even informing her granddaughter of these offers. She believed that becoming an artist was neither an appropriate skill nor job for a young woman in the 1940’s. She firmly declined all offers.

That grandmother’s prideful refusal affected my life, for Yvonne is my mother.

At age fourteen, instead of training her artistic talents, my mother trained to became a welder for WW2 aircraft. A job she lost to returning untrained soldiers, for only under extra-ordinary circumstances were women allowed in untraditional fields like welding.

Educational limitations thrust her into what was considered an appropriate labor job for women in 1946 – waitressing.

I was unaware of her missed life paths until I walked passed a florist and saw pussy willow twigs.

I automatically stopped to caress the soft gray buds. When I handed my mother four eight inch twigs as a gift, I mentioned recalling a picture where kitten heads replaced the pussy willow buds. Staring at me in surprise, she replied that she had drawn that exact sketch nearly 40 years ago, right after my brain injury. With my head still swathed in bandages, she’d been inspired to draw it after listening to me giggle while caressing a neighbor’s kittens.

DSC06013In honour of my attachment to that sentimental childhood memory, she drew me another for my 41st birthday.

Perhaps you look at this picture and think –  this art is amateur.

There is a reason for that.

While it is now known that 3-10% of the population is naturally left handed, eighty years ago being a leftie was ridiculed.

My mother’s grade one teacher intentionally called my mother to the chalkboard to write, and encouraged ALL the children to mock and laugh if she wrote her answer with her Left Hand. As I am a leftie, I can well imagine her humiliation.

So she focused her efforts on training herself to use her right hand, but the drawing did not flow as easily. She placed her art skills on the back burner. Occasionally she drew whimsical cards for her grandchildren.

408150_510030765687786_1782231890_nIn my mother’s early sixties, she took art classes in earnest, trying to develop her latent talents, but still using her right hand. Just before Christmas, she slipped on puddles of water in a mall, and broke her right elbow in three places. Three plates and six screws recreated the joint inside her arm. But, surgery did not return her right arm to its previous capabilities. Each morning, she awoke to a claw fist. No matter how diligently she did her weight exercises she never regained strength or ability in her right arm.

A year after the accident, a rehabilitation therapist suggested she try drawing with her left hand. She could barely contain her excitement when she gave me my pussy willow picture drawn 60 years after being forced to give up drawing with her left hand.

1459973_10152422703103581_6679445278463784322_nIt grieves me that my mother had so little time to restore her neglected left handed artistic ability.

Yet, this pussy willow drawing demonstrates that it is never too late to foster a latent or denied talent.

Despite a tragic loss of life opportunities and her harsh life circumstances, my mother’s legacy to me is her left-handed drawings.

They are a testimony of her resilience.

And an inspiration to develop late in life talents that her proud daughter plans to follow.


Remembrance Day 2017


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Blood splattered everywhere.






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.




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

To himself



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


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 :

National Post series: How We Die Now

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

Available at and her blog address is

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,  ( and The Family Plot Blog (

FB even has an app for after you’re gone.