Lois

I met Lois 13 years ago.

She and her friend Floe had signed up for  a class I was teaching at our local community college  called “Bible for Dummies.”

Lois was 80 years old.  Farm wife.   She had a couple of hundred chickens/ sold eggs on the side.  Sharp mind.  Quiet, sweet personality.  I remember thinking no way is this lady 80 years old…65 maybe. Floe told me on the side Dave her husband could be a little “overbearing.”  Said Lois didn’t get away from the farm much.  Hard worker.  It was “good she was able to take a break and get away from the farm for a few hours.”

After that class ended, wife and I would occasionally stop by Lois’s farm and buy eggs.

We read in the obituaries a few years ago, Lois’s husband had died.   I think we may have gotten eggs from her one time after that.  I think of Lois every time I drive by her farm.   Christmas night, feeling nostalgic  I googled her name to get the address of her farm.  I was thinking about dropping her a note.     Two addresses came up for Lois.  Her place that I knew about  and a 2nd local address.  It was a care facility.  White pages said she was 93 years old.

As I was driving past the exit to the care facility  this past Thursday morning I thought, what the heck, I’m going to stop and ask if she lives there.  No harm in that.

Walked up to the front door. Doors were locked.  Needed a security code to get in.  Off to the right, were the instructions and code numbers.   Punched them in, sure enough, this time the door opened.  Straight ahead was an office with two secretaries and a resident, so I popped my head in the door and asked, “Does a Lois, so- and so lived there?”

The secretary in charge looked at me as shook her head slowly  and said “Nope.”

I went on to tell them the details of why I there…It was spur of the moment.  Wasn’t even sure she was there, just that the computer said so.  Told her about the class Lois was in years before with me.  Told them I’d occasionally stop by her house to buy eggs, but it had been a while…

At this point, the secretary does some non-verbal signals with her eyes toward the resident sitting in the chair next to her desk, three feet in front of me….

It was Lois.

I did not recognize her.

Different hair style and her face was puffy.   I’m guessing she’d put on 20 pounds.
I asked how long she had lived here?  Secretary guessed maybe 3 years.

All this time Lois just sat listening to me banter, then reached up and grabbed my hand…didn’t let go until I left.  I looked her in the eyes and asked “Lois, do you remembered me? 

 “Yes” she said in a quiet voice.

We all  had good laugh.

Secretary said she thought I was joking initially.

++++++++++++++++++++++++

I’m still processing that little adventure.

I did write Lois a letter last night and pop it in the mail.

For the life of me, I can’t imagine going from the  active lifestyle that I have currently… where I can do whatever I want to do, make home-made bread, have a big garden, tend 80 apple trees, build furniture in my wood working shop, ferment sauerkraut, have a dog…..to moving into one room where all of my earthly possessions have to fit.

(And I couldn’t bring my dog).

Libby (our dog)

I watched a friend of ours (Helen) transition from living on her own, to moving into two different care facilities as her health declined…She pulled it off with amazing grace.  I’m not so sure I want to wind up like that.

(Not so sure I  have too much say in some of those details either.)

Radio DJ Friday morning was talking about her grandmother.  Grandmother lived through the depression of 1929-1939.  She said her grandmother had a remarkable cheerful disposition, in spite of all she went through. She asked her grandmother how she did it?

Grandmother told  her… “It is a choice.”  

Would love to hear any thoughts any of you have on this issue of aging, transitioning from one  season of our lives to the next.

I am taking notes 🙂  DM

 

Advertisements

26 thoughts on “Lois

  1. The season I’m in is the season of my parents transitioning to limited endurance, needing a walker for a day trip, and telling me with clarity that they enjoy their routine – going to the grocery story is a big part of their structure. My mom recently said ” I woke up and all of a sudden I’m old.”
    I tell them ” Live in the present. Notice things. Stop examining your life. You are still living. You just have to tweak how your doing it.”

    I’m finally taking seriously some orthopedic issues as I calculate how NOT doing anything about it might impact me in the future.

    And the quote from service last week ” Learn to dance on broken bones.” resonated with me in the sweetest way.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep, sounds like you and I are in a similar season of life…reminds me a little of those years when I had teenagers in my house and it felt like I was in uncharted waters. I asked lots of questions. I like what you told your mom… that is good stuff for all of us.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I LOVE that you stopped in anyways! And I’ll bet she loved that you did, too.
    Like you, I can’t imagine it, either and I know that’s the reason so many fight the change ~ My Mom, for example, was as independent as possible, given her physical challenges later in life. She stayed in her own home, with a ton of help from my sister, sister-in-law and brother, and when she had to go to the nursing home to “recover,” she didn’t. She was cheerful and bright, many around her weren’t. She found it depressing and, eventually, she stayed in her room. She accepted it but it still ticked her off. I don’t think she had ever imagined “that” life for herself.

    Like her, Hubbs’ step-Dad hasn’t imagined anything but where he is .. but he’s starting to show signs of not being safe on his own. Sadly what will happen is something – something will happen that changes his confidence or ability to stay alone. I think most of us wait for “something” vs. taking action and moving forward.

    I hope to learn from both but know giving up my home/privacy/independence would tick me off, too. How can it not?

    ~~ Poignant post, my friend.

    -MJ

    Liked by 1 person

    • Does your hubb’s step dad live anywhere close to you guys? Thinking about your mom still brings a smile to my face…. You’ve shared about her enough, that I have a pretty good sense of who she was. Personality wise, how much are you like her? 😉 (You don’t have to answer that if you don’t want to) but you know I love details 🙂 DM

      Liked by 1 person

      • yes, he lives about 45 mins to the north. And yes, thinking about her brings a smile to my face, too. We were similar in many ways, both avid readers, politically astute/involved, and opinionated. I think she was far more liberal than me, but I learned to from her. She was very diplomatic and I try to be, am not always successful. She had a poker face, I do not – ha! Cheers and Happy New Year! MJ

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, this is a big topic, my friend. First of all, thinking of stopping to see Lois is so you. Bravo! But as someone who taught a course called The Bible for Dummies and who includes Christianity as a tag in every post (and I speak as someone who does not do that!), you are both selling yourself short and forgetting some Sunday School lessons when you say “I’m not sure I want to end up like that.” The DM I know through your blogs loves being active and also being the one who helps others, as opposed to being helped. But I think you have the grace to accept what comes along and make it not only work for you, but also work for others around you. Our world view does change as we age, especially as we have to start accepting some limitations. But we also have a lifetime of experience to share with others, and we can do it in a positive way that is rewarding for us, too. I’m about 10 years or so ahead of you and I’ve watched many people having to make the transition. For most people, the transition happens when it becomes a relief for them to forego former responsibilities that they can no longer manage. Almost a new lease on life. I’ve seen others whose kids have made decisions for them and they are quite unhappy. Feeling that you have control is important. That’s why I wrote a blog post a while ago about a pre-will, a document that says what my requirements are if I am not in a position to make my own decisions about a transition. My list included having a cat! Happy New Year, DM!!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Love that a cat is on the list as you transition!!! There is wisdom in having a pet, if a pet is something that brings us comfort. You mentioned that tag I put on most of my posts (Christianity)..Not sure how many people notice that..I do that because everything in my life flows from that identity. The best visual I ever had of someone else with that sort of understanding is Tevye (the papa) from Fiddler on the Roof. I love how his and the Almighty’s relationship is portrayed. I think it nails it. Instead of some formal stuffy ritualistic interaction..well…you get my drift. Here’s a short clip from Youtube that says it better than I ..and by the way, Happy New Year to you too. Jane. Always appreciate your thoughts. DM

      Liked by 1 person

      • I only mentioned your tags because when I read your reaction to potential restricted ways of life ahead, I noted you didn’t immediately jump to thinking that God won’t give us more than we can handle or God will see us through. You wrote a truly honest reaction – oh, my, I don’t want to end up in a room. 😊 I do understand why you tag that way. I’d call it being a compassionate humanitarian (or Christian); your approach to life shines through in everything you write. You will make just a fine an oldster, in spite of not being able to do everything you can do now!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I have thought a great deal about this recently as my Mother In Law – who is now 91 – has had several falls, and slipped into bouts of mild dementia. She is a very proud woman, and it seems she is going to have to transition from her little apartment, to more of a nursing home situation. I panic for her, because I know this will kill her spirit. The few nursing homes I have been in, are very depressing, from the activities, to the food they serve, to the odors in the hallways. My Mum says – she would rather go and lie under a tree, like a dog, and die before she would ever willingly move into one of those facilities. Both of my parents are in their mid 80s now and still maintain a home. I hope they continue to do so, because I don’t ever want to have to be faced with making that decision (the nursing home decision) for them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yep, that darn falling down and breaking something can be a pretty quick ticket to winding up in a care facility. My dad (mid 80’s) fell this August. Broke the big bone in his leg right below the hip. went from being 100% mobile, and living with mom to several weeks in the hospital. Only by the grace of God, is he again walking. Before going into surgery, the Dr told my sister and him, there was a very real chance he would not be walking again….flash forward to now…he’s walking, has permission to drive locally, and is back to doing the things around town he and mom have been doing now for several years… ..things can change in a moment.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank goodness your Dad is back to doing his normal. He must be a tough cookie. My Dad gets around, but he gave up driving because he realized his reaction time wasn’t what it used to be. He is still completely independent, he has an account with the local taxi company and they get him to the store, the bank and his doctor appointments. So for being almost 87, he is doing really well!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I love that your dad can get around with the taxi. We live in a smaller community..no taxi’s although there are some small shuttle buses available, and a volunteer driving program that you can call to have someone take you to the Dr, etc. your dad and mine are the same age. (Just between you and me, I have my concerns about my dad’s reaction time driving as well) As long as he stays local and not get on the highway, he’ll probably be OK.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. Well Doug, like most things in my life I think that I have a plan or a path…until I don’t and then I seem to find a way to adjust. You know that I’ve written about contemplating my future in various posts. How can I not try to plan simply because of recent life events but I am also learning that much of what you think you need/want- or plan for- isn’t always necessary or in your control. The one thing that I don’t want is to become a cranky old lady who expects everyone to drop their own lives and cater to me. If I could live with an adult child in the future that might be nice, but I suspect that I would feel wrong about that idea if I was not healthy enough or cognizant enough to take care of myself. The companionship would be nice, but not the burden placed on them to care for me. In short, I have always stressed with the kids that the expectation to rearrange their lives for me as I age was not what I desire. A nice place with a roof, warm bed, and meals will do just fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m with you, I do not expect my kids to cater to me, and especially if I’m not of sound mind and health. It puts a lot of extra stress on the younger people. Now me on the other hand, I wouldn’t mind having either one of my parents living in their own quarters, close by…so we could help (or even bring in hired care) just so many things like you say, we really don’t know and don’t have a lot of control over. I have a sense you won’t turn out to be a crank.. from what little I know about you via your writings. DM

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Mum had dementia, but this wasn’t confirmed to us for several years.
    We did what we could when we could, and there is a lot of bad feeling between my sister and I. We had seen a definite downhill trend over the previous year and took Mum out for what turned out to be our last outing on Sept 4th 2017. By the end of the month, she was in a care home. I had no problem with that, in fact we both believed it was the best thing for her under the circumstances. I only got to see her once more, 17th December, and she was not well, so asleep in bed for most of my visit.
    This once independent lady who’d looked after herself and my sister’s family for years suddenly looked so very old and tired. I spoke to her several times on the phone after that, and also after she was admitted into hospital with a broken wrist at Christmas. She never came out, though plans were being made for her to go into a nursing home now as the care home couldn’t adequately cater to her needs. She was 95 and passed away on Jan 18th.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Di, Those memories are still very fresh. I’m glad you and your mom had a good relationships…sorry to hear about you and the sis. and that darn dementia…. what can I say…it’s a bugger. Hugs from across the pond. DM

      Like

      • Bless you Doug.
        Mum and I did have a special relationship, and it was nothing to do with me being her youngest. We asked several times for her to come and live with us, but she felt my sister needed her. Besides, it would have meant her moving way from family and friends, and that wouldn’t have been fair especially as I don’t think any of them would have visited. She loved getting my letters and read them constantly apparently. I miss that, writing to her that is. Dementia is a swine as it affects everyone.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I think it’s important to have these discussions with the kids early. Both my kids are very aware that under no circumstances are they to move me in with them – they are to park my cranky arse into a retirement facility. They are to make sure I’m not short of good reading material, have access to very good coffee and possibly an endless loop of River Monsters on tv 😁. Should I be incapable of reading or drinking coffee I likely won’t know where I am anyway. They have their own lives – that’s how I raised them – and I’ve no desire to interfere with that. I watch people around me leave important matters until it’s too late to even have their wishes considered. I’m 56 – my will is made, registered, and my daughter has power of attorney- so should I suddenly find myself with the mental capacity of a boiled carrot – she can legally take care of anything she needs to on my behalf.
    I sleep better for it, and I know both my kids are happy to not have to worry about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You nailed it. So important to have these conversations before hand, as much as possible. I like your “list” of things to keep you entertained. Mine also includes coffee, plus bacon, onions, maybe a computer to blog….like you, I am a reader, and can get by w/o a TV or computer if I have to. I just like the computer to enable me to look up stuff.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cheesecake. At that age I’ll probably need the extra pounds 😂. My cell phone – so I can text message when I’m out of books, coffee or cheesecake 😄. I think people need to lighten up a little – it doesn’t always have to be gloomy and sad. My daughter jokes she’ll have to tell the staff to hide the cutlery – she fully expects to get a call from the home informing her ‘your mother ran out of reading material and is now in the process of carving the dining room table into a Viking long boat’.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Here/ here…cheese cake/ cell phones, and …..chicken.I really love my chicken. I’m with you. This doom and gloom stuff is for the birds…My mom who is just a couple of years behind dad, still has the fire. She has a wicked sense of humor., saw it again over Christmas. 😉 She has had her share of heartaches (cancer in her 40’s lost her dad when she was little/ had all of her teeth pulled in her teens (14 the same day if I have my numbers correct), lived through the depression, I could go on… Gloom and doom would not be the first thoughts that came to your mind if you were to meet her…I’d like to think some of her attitude rubbed off on her eldest (that would be me) 😉 You’d be a hoot to have as my neighbor.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. I was really looking forward to our latter years as an ‘us’.
    BUT recently we had ‘our talk’ on the back of a few health scares.
    I think it is the prerogative of ‘seniors’ to reflect on what was and those ‘just in case’ plans.

    Thus we’ve got winter to get through,
    Garden sorting out come spring,
    The kitchen needs revamping,
    And a bit of internal painting to finish off.

    By mid next year everything will be done,
    If God wills it so.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am proud of you Paul. Those are the gritty conversations too many people simply avoid because they are hard to have. My grandma, the one that taught me how to make bread, refused to even have a will made, even when she was in her 90’s simply because she thought it would jinx her. Not sure one ever did get written before she passed. Here’s trusting and hoping you have many more moons times around the sun before you get to cash in your chips…and that goes for me too 😉 Any plans for new years eve @ your place?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Watching video’s, drinking tea, and eating marshmallows, Wild eh?
        It’s 20h GMT and I’m just taking the dog out for it’s final walk,
        So Di and I wish you and your family well for the New Year.

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.