“The age of a woman doesn’t mean a thing, as the best tunes are played on the oldest fiddles.”
At the age of 97 she sat by her window watching the moving men place the few pieces of life she was able to take on to one truck while the cleaning company filled the second much larger one with possessions that must be discarded. 50 years in this house and all the things I accumulated. Are you sure no one can use an electric can opener? The driver of the moving van with a tear in his eye said I can use it. Every neighbor that came to kiss her goodbye left with armfuls of canned goods, knives, dishes and as many things she could find homes for. She smiled feeling happy a few of her treasures were avoiding the trip to the dumpster.
She was a wonderful friend of my Mother and I was happy when I saw her phone number appear on my caller I.D. as I knew a learning experience was shining on my day. After the standard greetings the strong voice for which I received much advice in past informed me on our latest chat she had sold her home and would be moving into an assisted living community. She invited me to come on her moving day to spend the last few moments with her.
Her body was wearing down and she could no longer handle the steps in the three floor house but her mind was sharper than many much younger. She ignored her stiff joints and rose from the chair upon seeing her worn bathroom scale on the incorrect pile. I received this when we first got married and it works perfectly fine and is coming with me!
She lived in the house 40 years a widow but did not feel sorry for herself. She used her time putting together care packages to send to our troops as well as crocheting booties and blankets for unwed mothers. She enjoyed trips to Manhattan, taking yoga class, painting portraits, reading and was always learning something new. Her dream was to go to college and she earned her degree at the age of 75.
I held her hand asking how she was holding up and she said lately all people want to do is talk about their aches and pains. I don’t want to cry about things over and done. I continued to say that this move was going to be wonderful as she will be in a community sharing activities with so many her age. She immediately stopped me saying do not worry about age as you go on with life. I never let a number be the deciding factor in any decisions and it still isn’t. I am moving because I do not want to depend on this silly chain as she points to the life emergency alert around her neck. Goodness, the other day I hugged my granddaughter and I heard the guy asking if I was OK? After a good laugh together she looked me in the eye and said know when it is time to change something and accept it.
The trucks were filling up and it was time to take the chair for which she was sitting. She agreed with her daughter-in-law the shame it was to discard an unopened pint of blueberries and accepted them placing fistfuls into her mouth. She was not concerned it was getting late and traffic on the highway would be starting on this Friday afternoon as she sat on the bottom step of the staircase which led to the bedrooms. God has the book with the date we are leaving so no sense rushing. She was appreciating her last snack and moments in her home and the hour on the clock was not changing it.
She heard the trucks pulling away as she rose asking me to please go upstairs to be sure all the windows were closed. I asked if she would like to join me for one more walk through and she replied no. I said my farewells to each room already. Her family had the car waiting in the driveway as she walked down the front porch. Just shut the door behind you she said, it locks automatically and waved, saying goodbye old house, onto my recent chapter.
Holding back tears I gave her a good-bye hug and kiss and helped her into the car. As I was closing the door I heard her say to her family I sure hope the case with my address book, notecards and stamps made it onto the correct truck.
Yesterday I let my tears out but still smiled as I am happy to say I received my first note from her recent home. Written in her perfect penmanship “you came at a critical time to help me for which I am grateful. Together we made it happen. With true appreciation and warmest thanks to you. Let peace and harmony reign.”
I learned so much that morning about not fearing unknown places I may be headed in my own life. The experience reminded me not to get attached to things as at the end of the day it is all just stuff. Take the important things and know when it is time to let everything else go. Circumstances cannot stop us from singing as each day holds the lyrics of the songs of our life.
I look forward to her recent telephone number on my I.D. box as I know that fiddle has many memorable tunes to teach and I am ready to continue memorizing every note.
The best tunes are definitely played on the oldest fiddles. Goodbye late, hello recent.
Editor’s Note: Visit AFL member Donna Ryan at her website: http://www.50plusstickingtogether.com/. She says, “I have always thrived on inspiration. I love reading it everywhere I can find it. I am 55 and it has been a journey with many twists and turns. I invite all 50+ women to join me in discussions on this second chapter. Our road ahead is fun and exciting because these truly are the best days of our lives.”