Most of us value our lives right down to the last breath we take, and my mother was young at heart so it was not too surprising when she retorted, “I am not old! I am not a geriatric!” at 80 years old when I suggested we make an appointment for her to see a geriatric doctor. Well mothers are often right, but not always, so I decided to check what age group is considered geriatric. This is what I found out: It is considered that “geriatric” refers to older adults needing medical care. Some elderly people need geriatric care when they are 65 years old but others will only need geriatric medical expertise when they are between 70 and 80.
She eventually died one week short of her 88th birthday having clung to her every breath. She truly sucked the marrow out the bones of life. Now 18 months later I am preparing to write her memoirs and therefore going through all her “life’s-papers” as I call it. What are “life’s-papers” you might ask? She did not keep orderly journals as such but wrote about her life, her beliefs, and her values on scraps of paper. Unlike us who can use Instagram or Pinterest or some other social media to collect and express thoughts she collected cards, book markers and such like which expressed it all. It was as if she surrounded herself with her ideologies on pieces of paper. She also had quite a wealth of information about her past family.
I have found it to be quite a treasure and a privilege to hold all her energies, as it were. It is with such respect and honor that I sift through these papers and it is a way of acknowledging her and having a view into her life; seeing her as an entire person. My relationship, as her child, was just one aspect of knowing who she was but this has given me a more objective and complete view. I feel that it has been and still is quite a spiritual and sacred experience.
It can be such a cathartic and clarifying process to embark on; almost like a ritual of sorts. It is a sacred act being able to acknowledge the memories, the person who is no longer in one’s life now. I chose to burn some things for closure. and in all I see my mother’s life mapped out, all her values and beliefs. I can see that some of her beliefs I took on and some others are very different yet I can value how we still remained special friends all through the years. It is a gentle grieving of yet again letting her go. So it is a very spiritual time: one to be embraced and to treasure.
I have published the following poem before but I have changed the words a little. I feel it is directed at my mother, myself and you.
Your life is Sacred. Consider your Self, your soul, "Sacred". Wonderfully made, do not discount yourself as 'nothing' or put yourself down. You are created to stand proud; you have everything you need It is there for you. Appreciate who you and what you have.
Let go of "old garments"; it is time to claim the new. Those old thoughts that still cling to you and continually bring you down must go, they no longer serve you. Cultivate and embrace the new.
Be true to yourself, and faithful to who you are created to be. Self-effacement is not a garment of true humility. Choose to simply be you. No longer do you need to prove who you are. You are already YOU.
You have worth. You are precious and highly prized. Your vulnerability is good too, You are valuable as you are.
You are a creative human being and have an agency for love. You are spiritual, be a role model not by trying to impress and perform. You are enough, special, sacred, amazing and wonderful.
When a mother settles her eyes on her baby for the first time she looks with wonder; that baby was and is you. Now it is time to see your true worth through the eyes of "mother", that is how you nurture yourself. Now it is time to see how you have grown every new step a milestone Know that you are loved And your life is sacred.
Have a great weekend and take care.