Saturday, May 16, 2009
Bits & Bytes: Stuff I’ve learned Through The Years
~~You really can’t take it with you. All the old adages apply, we come into this world alone with no possessions, and we leave this world alone with no possessions. I witnessed this truth first hand. As my father’s Alzheimer’s progressed, his belongings were whittled down as his circumstances were reduced to match his disability, bit by bit, until he entered hospice, where he was allowed a picture frame on a night table, his toothbrush. Things that had been so important to my father held little or not interest to members of the family, (I could only keep so much), consequently I reluctantly ended up donating many of his treasures to charity. I grew to view the accumulation of stuff differently.
~~ Corny as it sounds, (we've become so jaded in this day and age), just about everyone's motivated by love, excluding true sociopaths. Without love, dreadful deficits eat away a person’s force. Without love, a person may be reduced to focusing inward and into a self-centered exile that can lead to narrow-mindedness. Connecting is crucial. We need other people. Unless you’re a monk, studied in methods of meditation that hook you up to the universal source of all love, you need interaction. You know you do. When Dad was in memory care I observed the residents that rarely had visitors. Their eyes told the whole story. I saw much more than loneliness in those eyes, I saw terror. It must be terrible to end up that alone.
~~ My great-grandmother Catherine lived to her late nineties. I was thirteen when my dad dropped me off at her house one afternoon. We were visiting from out west. She lived in a tiny house. Over her easy chair hung a giant painting of The Last Supper. She told me the story of what happened after her mother died when she was a small child. Her sister Elizabeth fared well, she was lucky enough to be taken by the rich relatives, but the poor relatives had taken not-so-lucky Catherine. She lived way out in the country and was expected to perform many chores at a very young age. When the only frock she owned was being washed she had to wear a burlap potato sack, which was tied around her stomach with a piece of rope. Great-grandmother remembered working out in the hot sun, and she remembered how itchy that burlap was, the rashes and the misery. She grew very serious, looked me straight in the eye, and told me how grateful she was for every piece of clothing she’d accumulated since. She smoothed her pretty skirt and said, “I don’t let myself forget how it used to be. I thank God for each and every meal, for each and every garment, for the roof over my head.” I never forgot her words; a little gratitude does go a long way.
That’s enough bits & bytes for today, thanks for dropping by.
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