This past week, I spent three days driving my eighty-two-year-old mother over rolling country roads in Eastern Washington searching for the family farm of her early grade-school years. ... For the elderly to embrace life, they must be able to integrate their past into their present. In their reflections, they must find their past as meaningful and worthwhile. ... Mom enjoyed relating memories to me which effectively collapsed time, bringing the past near, helping me see my grandparents and bygone days as complex and real. I could also see that this trip required mom to do some spiritual work. She had to let go of how-things-were seventy-five years ago. I heard her sigh and often shrug saying, "That's progress for you."It's an interesting meditation, making me think I do need to integrate my past into my present. Now I need to figure out what that means, exactly. A complaint about the elderly I have heard all my life is that they seem to be living in the past. Maybe they are simply sorting through the pieces of their lives, doing some spiritual work.
What memories come to mind today?
Sue's mother was searching for her early grade-school years, so I'll think back to that time. I remember feeling very brave when I sat on the high wall over the sidewalk at my school. I've been back there as an adult, who can see that awe-inspiring wall is only about four feet high. I must keep in mind, however, that's probably taller than I would have been at that time.
3090 East 37th Street, Chattanooga, TN" and click on the street view. Turn right and you'll see the crenellated wall behind my elementary school. Yes, I was once tiny enough to sit between those upright stones.
I was indeed very brave when I inched my bottom forward and jumped off. Did I continue to do brave things as I grew older? What brave thing am I willing to try these days? No, I don't intend to jump down from a 5'-9"-high wall.