This weekend is the Celebration of Life Party for Tim’s mother at the beautiful Shalom Hills Retreat Center in Windom, MN. She planned this, of course, along with the donating of her body to Mayo. Since I am deep in thought of Margaret this weekend, I thought I would share some final thoughts on her life.
Margaret was my model of “aging gracefully”.
One of the biggest gifts she gave her adult children is that she planned for each step of her aging….and she willingly accepted each stage.
When she lived in the Hills Apartments in Jackson (aptly named because it sits on top of the hill overlooking the town), Margaret always said that when she couldn’t drive anymore, she would move downtown to the apartments there. At 90, she had her first car accident and she announced to us that she wasn’t going to drive anymore and was ready to move downtown. (She initiated that conversation, not us.)
When, because of a degenerating disk in her back, she needed to start using a walker, she still walked a mile each way every day to the grocery store, the dollar store, or the coffee shop. She said when she could no longer do that, she would move in with Paul and Nancy (her son and his wife who had offered that several times over the years).
At 93, when she fell and broke her hip, she happily went from rehab directly to Paul and Nancy’s. While living there, she talked about going to the Good Samaritan Home back in Jackson if the time came when she needed more help.
In January she was hospitalized and diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. She was ready to move directly to Jackson for her hospice care.
Each of these times, she did not look back. She did not even need to visit the places she had lived to say good-bye.
As her children, we did not have to decide what we thought would be best for her. (Have you even seen or been a part of those discussions when everyone isn’t in agreement?) We did not have to work to “convince” her to accept a new living arrangement. It also gave her power and independence in making her own decisions about her life.
May we learn from Margaret and become models of “aging gracefully”, fully confident in the ability of the Lord to provide for us and in our own ability to let go.
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