That was my first thought when Karen Helene Walker put out her first call for essays for an anthology on aging. It’s my mom who’s aging, I thought. I’ll write about her.
Everything is relative, of course, and that’s easy to see when you read the new release, Still Me … After All These Years: 24 Writers Reflect on Aging. Some of the writers are much younger than others, but we all have our own experiences with feeling our age, thinking about growing old, and, sadly, some of us even think about dying…although we don’t spend a lot of time on that one.
When I chose to write about my mom in an essay called “Just Another Journey,” I thought she would still be here when the book was published and be delighted at the things I said about her. That didn’t work out. In December, Mom developed a bad cough that was diagnosed as bronchitis and was put on a strong antibiotic. After the antibiotic was gone, the cough persisted. Finally diagnosed with a type of pneumonia consistent with aspiration, a serious threat to those who live so long, she was whisked off to the hospital for stronger antibiotics. The tests revealed she also had severe sepsis. After a couple of miserable days, Mom took things into her own hands and informed the doctor exactly how she wanted her care and end of life to proceed, and that was that. I never had a chance to tell her about this anthology or my essay, never got to read her those things I wrote about her strength, her will, and her courage. She knew what I thought, of course, but she had no idea I was going to put her out there for all the world to know.
So back to that question about who’s aging. Not me, I thought. It was my mom who was aging. She was 97 and still enjoying those vanilla milkshakes as though they were the nectar of the gods. I really thought she was going to make it to 100.
Me? I might have aches and pains, a totally new knee, a screw holding one of my fifth metatarsals together, and occasional bouts of forgetfulness, but I’m only 74. That’s not old! I don’t care if the newspapers do like to call 60-year-olds “elderly” when writing their little articles about car wrecks and scams. They’re wrong, wrong, wrong.
Some of the folks who contributed to this wonderful anthology on aging have more years of life experience than I do, but when you read their essays, you won’t think of them as “old” either. To learn more about the contributors to this anthology and to follow the blog book tour, you can visit the MC Book Tours website.
I have also scheduled a Goodreads giveaway of three copies of this anthology for March 29th to April 5th. I’ll remind everyone when it’s time to enter.
Goodreads Book Giveaway
Still Me…After All These Years
by Karen Helene Walker
Giveaway ends April 05, 2017.
See the giveaway details
Susan Gourley says
I’m sorry to hear about your mom. She sounds amazing and I’m glad she was able to make her wishes known to her doctors. I seldom think of myself as old, but then I noticed my children worrying about me. It’s very strange because I still feel like I need to take care of them.
Thanks, Susan. My husband worries about me and I worry about him, but so far the kids haven’t started to hover. It’s helps that none of them live close by so they can’t see our “senior moments” in action. 😀
I’m so sorry to hear about your mom.
Thank you, Gina. She was a treasure and I do miss her.
Susan Brooks says
Lovely post, Pat, and I don’t think that 74 is elderly at all! I think elderly is a state of mind rather than linear years. I know 20 year-olds that are elderly!
I am sorry to hear about your mom! Maybe she read your post from afar.
“Elderly” is a word that should be stricken from the language and its use banished forever.
Jemi fraser says
I wish your mom could have read the piece, but, as you say, she knows!
Looking forward to the book! 🙂
I think you’ll like the anthology a lot, Jemi. I’m going to go back after this blog tour is over and read all the essays again. All of them touched my heart is some way.
Margot Kinberg says
What a lovely post, Pat. I think it’s interesting how we don’t think of ourselves as aging. And yet, we are. I had that experience recently when I got an updated author ‘photo. It certainly puts everything in perspective when you actually see that ‘photo s taring you in the face…
Oh, I do hate it when it’s time to get a new photo, Margot! My last one was taken by a photographer/author friend at a writers’ conference a couple of years ago, so I’ll probably need an updated picture this year…or maybe next.
Rachna Chhabria says
I wasn’t aware of your mom passing away, sorry to hear about it.
Patricia, age is just a number, its all in the mind and I believe that we shouldn’t be taking these numbers too seriously,
I agree, Rachna, although I think it will be hard to ignore the big number when I turn 80. Of course, by then, I could decide that it’s really 90 that’s the big number. 😀
Valerie capps says
Pat, I’m so sorry for your loss. I can tell from your essay that your mother was a very special lady and I know you will miss her. What a blessing for her to be able to live her life to the fullest well past her ninety-seventh birthday! It is so sad when we lose a loved one several years before they actually pass. I lost my mother twenty years ago, but she still lives in my memories, and I know your mother will do the same for you. Thank you for allowing us to “meet” her through your words in this special book.
I am so grateful for those extra years she had, Valerie. They gave me a chance to ask all the questions about family and heritage and her own life that we tend to put off asking until it’s too late.
Bev Marquart says
I wasn’t aware of your mom’s passing, Pat, and I’m so sorry for your loss. Her passing will leave a hole in your heart, but so will her love and spirit. I know you’ve written a wonderful tribute, and I’m anxious to read it in its entirety.
Thank you, Bev. I got my mom moved to Colorado in September and she was settling in pretty well. The pneumonia was a mean trick on both us. At least I had her here so I could be with her when things got rough.
Susan Swiderski says
I’m so very sorry for your loss. It doesn’t matter a whit how old our mothers are; we’re never quite ready to see them go. It’s a shame she didn’t get to read what you wrote about her, but it’s even more important that she already knew how you felt.
Thanks, Susan. You are so right. I think the longer my mom was around, the closer we became.
LD Masterson says
It’s funny, I mentioned in my essay that I never really felt old until my mother died. They tay our children/grandchildren make us feel young, maybe our moms do, too. I’m very sorry for your loss.
Thanks, LD. It’s said that when our mothers die is when we come face-to-face with our own mortality…so you may be right. I wonder what folks who lose their mothers at a young age would think about this subject.
L. Diane Wolfe says
Your mom was strong until the end. 97 is impressive. I had one grandmother reach 102 and she said that was too old. Obviously too old is relative.
I think it’s amazing how many folks reach that age and still have most of their mental abilities intact even if the body is failing. The issue of quality of life versus quantity is definitely something we think about as we grow older. My mom often said, “I don’t know why I lived this long.”
Karen Walker says
Oh Pat, I didn’t realize you’d lost your mom.. I’m so sorry. I loved her through your essay about her. And yes, she lives in you and I’m sure she knows how you feel about her and what you’ve shared about her in this anthology. And, “Me, Old?” That would have been another great title for the anthology!!! Thanks for participating and for all you’re doing to help promote.
Thanks, Karen. I loved every essay in the anthology and will help spread the word as best I can.
Pat Garcia says
You are living a way of life that your mother painted beautifully in a picture for all tho see. You are blessed and I am happy to have gotten to know you through this book.
All the best.
I feel I have gained a whole new world of friends through this anthology, Pat. We’ve learned a lot about each other, perhaps more than most of us reveal when we first meet new folks face-to-face.
I’m not old either. Your mother did almost make it to 100 years old.
Mason Canyon says
Pat, your mom sounds like an amazing woman and she passed her strength, her will, and her courage on to you. No, we’re not getting older, just more experienced. Thanks for being a part of the tour and for your wonderful contribution to this book.
MC Book Tours
Good morning, Mason! I hope I’m as strong as she was…I certain know I’m as stubborn. (That “I want to do it myself” commercial could have been written about us.) 😀
Alex J. Cavanaugh says
Sorry your mother never got to see the book, but she did know. She would’ve been delighted.
I remember the first piece of mail from AARP – I thought, no way! I am not old.
Let’s continue to think that way, Alex. There are days my inner me is definitely no more than 35…even if the outer me is feeling creaky and achy. Focusing on the inner self certainly makes me feel better.