These days I am long past any interest in being “youthful”. I am what I am and what you see is what you get. Instead, my concerns are about managing my energy and my short-term memory. I am also concerned about my ability to continue to live in my own house as I age and what to do when that is no longer possible. When my friends and I get together I find we have the same concerns. So, I offer myself as an aging coach and a coach who is aging.
I have a lot of books to take to GoodWill. This is a big break-through for me. Books have a greater hold on me than any other physical stuff.
I am able to release all these books to future owners through GoodWill because I have seen the way they market them on Amazon.com. I have occasionally bought a used book from them that I had given up years ago but recently desired to own a copy. I think of my relationship with possessions as that of a conduit. Things can come into my life, stay awhile, and then leave.
That reminds me that, when I was very young, I thought people were saying “live-bury” and that could almost be the case in some homes where the books have taken over all the available space.
Here in Maine the snow has mostly melted and people can reach parts of their house where the wreaths and other holiday decorations were marooned. Many people put wreaths over each of their windows, both upstairs and down. These require a ladder for putting them up and taking them down. The ground may have been bare when they were put up after Thanksgiving, but then the snows came. We often joke about the wreath’s becoming “St. Patrick’s Day wreaths” or even “Easter wreaths”. When winter releases its hold, however temporarily, home owners start raking gravel from their lawns where the plow drivers pushed the snow when clearing the driveway, and removing the vestiges of holiday decorating. Spring moves slowly here in Maine.
“The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
“You know how it is with an April day
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
A cloud comes over the sunlit arch,
A wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.”
(Two Tramps in Mud Time by Robert Frost)
Meantime, inside the house, the effect of approaching spring is felt, as well. Rooms that were closed off in order to save heating them are once again left open. Windows get opened for short periods of time when the sun is out. We cautiously dig out a few pieces of warm weather clothing, but when we wear them we dress in layers such as an over-shirt to peel off and put back on as the day progresses. We look for garden tools we set aside without much thought back in the fall. We try to look optimistically at the dismal flower beds and vegetable garden which don’t yet show any promise. But then, on our village street, neighbors re-appear, kids are bicycling and the song birds are returning and gathering nest materials. Spring may be slow getting here but we get to appreciate in increments as it progresses.
When Lucille’s family got the phone call from the hospital they were not expecting it. The sudden crisis threw everyone’s life into a spin. Many plans had to be hurriedly cancelled or changed. All of them had busy, stressed-out lives and this added one more load to carry, not that anyone blamed Lucille. It was just that when they learned that she would not be returning to her home the enormity of it hit everyone at the same time. There was the house, full to the gills with her stuff, and no one living in it. So now they were faced with making decisions without much information and everyone was on a tight schedule. Should they just lock the place up and agree to meet there again at some future, more convenient time? Oh, what about the cat? Did anyone recall if the cat was still alive and where it would hide if strangers entered the house? Who takes orphaned cats these days? What about Lucille’s car? Should it be left in the garage? Where are the keys? When did it have any maintenance? Who did she get to take care of it? What about keeping the grass mowed? They certainly didn’t want the place to look unoccupied and attract thieves or squatters. Did Lucille pay her own bills? Who will take over her finances? Can they be trusted? Does anyone know if she left a will?
Or, if she isn’t dead, but needs continual nursing care, what will finance it? Can her assets be liquidated? What are they worth? Who did she want to have her things? How long will it take to clear up her estate? Does her home need a lot of repairs in order to be saleable?