You might think, by that title, that I’m talking about my 90-year-old parents, and you would be right.
But only in part.
It’s true that my parents have lived their lives–their very long and rewarding lives. The years were full up and now they’re thankful…but tired.
Were you to ask them about death, they’d reply: “We’re ready.”
And this makes sad, but I understand.
It is especially hard on my beloved papa, whose mind is just as keen as always but whose body (in his words) is giving out.
Think about it. Wouldn’t it be hard to not feel trapped? This is why praying for the elderly’s so important, that they not give in to feelings of despair.
All that said..
We had a hootenanny of a time at my dad’s 90th birthday party. We met in the vestibule of my hometown church, where the parishioners had gathered for the Palm Sunday procession.
We sang Happy Birthday to my father–a.k.a. Deacon George–and he was so very sweet and pleased to hear it.
After Mass and a reception at Pizza Ranch, we went back to my mom and dad’s. We laughed and drank wine–lots and lots of wine–and we shared a ton of stories old and new. Angela couldn’t get enough of the stories, especially the ones involving my sister Renee. “It’s true!” I told Angela, recounting one of our most-told tales. “She called all of the neighbor kids into the house to play, then poofed our faces with flour and stuck hot sauce on our tongues.
“We loved it. We held our burning tongues and said ‘Thith ith so great!’ “
“Is Auntie Nae the one that you say I’m like?” Angela asked, her blue eyes shining with excitement and joy.
“Yes,” I told her. “You both are stinkers.”
Angela…my sister Renee…they honor my parents with their lives
because they’re like my parents; they live life to the full. Back in the day, my parents
went and went. They never stopped going and giving and living, and I see this quality in my daughter and my sister.
Now listen. I don’t want to get all deep on you here, but too bad.
I’m going to do it.
I can’t not do it.
My takeaway thought from this latest trip home is simple: Live, Love, Laugh, Forgive. It’s perhaps a simple thought, but it’s not always easy in the execution, especially that “forgiving” bit. I’ve seen families torn apart by unforgiveness!
I look at my parents and see the life I want to live. I want to go and go and live and forgive. I want to carry the
torch that they ignited, and when I’m 90 (or 80, or 50), I want to be surrounded by the people I love.
|Photo Credit: My Niece Aimee|
The hot sauce is optional.
The love and laughter are not.