How An 82yr Old Widow Beats The Blues
I got the call while searching my new life.
My house buyers were pulling out at the 11th hour of the 11th hour.
Just as I was excitedly looking for a new home, new community, new work, and a new start in the glorious New Forest region of the UK, the estate agent had to deliver the bad news.
My dreams have been put on hold.
It’s put me under sudden financial pressure and roadblocked all the well laid plans made for the next 6 months.
First I was annoyed, then I was bothered, and finally I settled on disappointed meaning I left for the trip back rather flat and feeling sorry for myself.
Then I met my 82 year old widowed aunt.
She lives hundreds of miles from me and the trip to the South had enabled me to drop by for the evening. It knew I would enjoy spending time with her, but I never knew I would suddenly, and unexpectedly, learn so much.
I arrived on a downer, and left on a tenacious high.
82 yr old positivity
As the night went by my auntie recounted her life and we spoke about the many family occasions over the years and all that had happened. It was then, without meaning to, she taught me how she beat the blues and, despite her circumstances, how she loves life still feeling she has so much more to live for.
> Barely had she retired than her husband, my uncle, developed Parkinson’s disease. She nursed him at home and then went every day for 5 years to his care home until he died. She was in a widow in her 60′s just as they should be enjoying life together. Her response: She said her goodbyes and focused ONLY on all the people she loves being with and all the activities that make her happy NOW. (She actually has a busier social life than me and half the people my age!).
> Finances were, and still remain, very tight. No luxuries for her bar some flowers for the garden and the odd weekend with her brother, her food bought in the cheapest supermarkets and made to last. She never has a holiday or buys new clothes. Her response: She’s grateful for her home and garden and says her friends she meets every day for a cup of tea and a chat are worth more than money can buy or a new fridge.
> Health has begun to deteriorate. Due to a bad hip she never left her house for 2 years and her chest is now playing up and possibly her lungs are worsening. Her response: She got a hip replacement happy to wait as long as it took as she would be back on her feet again and takes regular breaks when out and about when she gets out of breath or, as he says, “Nothing is stopping me from going out. NOTHING!”. It’s what she can do not what she used to be able to do.
> In the last few years some of her friends have died as well as family (my late Mum was her sister), others have moved away, and her daily circumstances have altered, so she often spends more time alone. Her response: She refuses to be maudlin. She believes she has potentially twenty years more in her and to think negatively is going to diminish that. Her thoughts are fixed only what makes her happy or she likes (she loves TV soaps – I had to be quiet for 30 mins as one was on when I visited).
> NOW THE BIG ONE. Her life has been hard coming from rural Ireland with nothing and having to work for all her life in lesser paid jobs including 15 hr days just to make ends meet and also discovering her and her husband couldn’t have children. Her response: What’s done is done, you can’t change it or go back so make the best of things. Everything could change for the better any day but, if it doesn’t, accept the situation and stop fretting and thinking about it. Get on and do what has to be done.
I have to admit the few hours in her company were sobering. Without realising I had adopted a ‘poor me’ attitude which she soon snapped me out of. I have plenty I can do about it, not to mention that the problem could be only temporary. She’s had to face and deal with a whole host of permanent issues over her life and always kept smiling and living life to her fullest.
Now it’s my turn. She’s passed the baton to me.
Get on with things John, stop feeling sorry for yourself, knuckle down and find ways to solve short term hassles so that long term happiness can begin to show itself.
It’s what you do to beat the blues. Especially if you’re an 82 yr old widow with no money, an ailing body, and an undying spirit to experience life every single day even if it’s just a favourite TV show. That will do.
But I’m not, I’m younger. I’ve got all my life ahead of me so why worry over one detour on the road? One tiny ‘road closed’ sign?
It’s part of the journey.
One which lead me to her door and sent me on my way with wisdom and inspiration that made me feel more energised and more determined that I had in years.
An 82 year old changed my life. Not to go conquer mountains, but to cease making mountains out of the smallest of molehills in the first place.
I live to fight another day, if I fight on this one. Fight to be realistic, that is!
Has an older person or relative taught you a big life lesson? What did they teach you? How has elder wisdom pointed you in the right direction?
***PS: The header picture isn’t of my Auntie. She would hate to have her picture here as she’s “just an ordinary old woman”!!!
Image courtesy of hannanik