Tight squeeze. February 2014, Florida.
Our little Ivy sure is growing. Here she is with her Dibi last week. Yep, a new Dibi! We’ll see if Ivy, once she’s talking, has another name in mind. But until then, we will use Dibi, the name my sister invented for “Grammy.” Kinda fits, right?
The Power of Pause: Taking Time to Visit Seniors -
The title of my February AARP post seems a little “well, duh” to me — and I wrote it. Of course people should take time to visit one another, especially potentially-isolated older adults. But what I’m really saying this month is that we should take our time when we take time.
In the post, I mention my stepmom Beth, and I should have mentioned my dad, too. They’re both fixtures in the nursing home community where Beth’s mom Dorothy lives, where my granddad once did, too. Beth and my dad, they don’t rush in then rush out. They sit and talk and listen to the singers performing after supper. When it’s over, they might head home, or they might wheel residents (friends, they’d call them now) back to their rooms. And of course they know where everyone lives. They’ve taken the time to find out.
He’s smiling on the inside. February 2014, Illinois.
My boyfriend’s grandpa turns 90 this summer — and he’s busier than we are. Unless the snow really piles up, he’s visiting friends or going to church or having broasted chicken at The Loft, the place in their small farming community. He served us breakfast when we stayed at his house a few weeks ago. I tried to clear the table.
"Oh don’t do that," he said, taking the coffee mugs. "That’s my job."
Everyone ages differently, in their own way and time. Not everyone is as fortunate as Joe’s grandpa, to be healthy enough and secure enough to live on their own. But wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could support all the grandpas who wanted to?
Why Oscar Nominee ‘Nebraska’ Already Won -
If you haven’t seen Nebraska, do. My mom and I had to regroup in the bathroom afterwards, but it was 100 percent worth it. More feelings (lots of feelings!) in my January post for AARP: “Nebraska shows us that going along with the fantasy can bring dignity and joy—and, in some cases, perhaps even moments of closure.”
Remembering. August 2013, Pennsylvania.
This August, right before school started, we celebrated Pop Pop’s life at his grave unveiling. It’s a Jewish custom to wait about a year to place and reveal the gravestone of a loved one. It’s a beautiful tradition, I’ve come to realize. It’s a chance to remember, to reflect, to grieve together once you’ve had time to grieve apart.
But I dreaded the unveiling a little, if I’m honest. I wanted to say something for Pop Pop, but I worried I wouldn’t be able to get it out. I didn’t speak at his funeral, and I regretted it. It all happened so fast. He died September 13, and we buried him the very next day. It was all I could do to write the obituary and get through the whirlwind.
Maybe that’s part of what makes the unveiling so special, so needed. Time has passed. Life has moved on. But we return, we slow down and we remember.
A very dear grandmother passed away a few days ago. Not mine — mine are gone now — but close. It has me returning to all these feelings, and I want to finally share what I did say at Pop Pop’s unveiling. Yep, I managed to get all the words out.
Pop Pop and I were “the criers.” We cried a lot together, and then we’d always laugh about it. So, if I cry through this, bear with me.
Meeting Older Adults Where They Are -
One of my biggest aha moments from grad school so far? It’s really quite simple: “One of the guiding principles of gerontology is the idea that aging is a lifelong process. By aging, the experts really mean living. We are always growing into our own. We may identify as the professor we were in our 40s—but we very well may not. And that’s OK.” More in my December AARP post.