Lessons from Grandmother - Growing Old Gracefully
Grandmother encouraged all of her granddaughters, through her actions, as well as words, to grow old gracefully and with dignity. I cannot remember a time when Grandmother complained about getting old, turning grey, or the wrinkles that appeared on her face. Those things didn’t matter nearly as much as how she carried herself, expressed herself, or was viewed by the younger women of the small, Midwestern farm town she lived in.
When she “went to town,” she was dressed properly, hair coiffed perfectly, make up done, and her shoes and purse matched. She went to the beauty shop on the same day each week, and her hair was not allowed to turn grey until after she turned 60. Her house was spotless, her yard was perfect, and every meal was set on the table at the same time each day. There was no going out to eat, unless there was a covered- dish dinner at church.
Grandmother was a member of the local Pinochle Card Club that met weekly. She was always excited to host the club once or twice a year in her home, and fixed elegant finger foods for the ladies to feast upon.
Grandfather died at 95 years of age, grandmother was 83. She continued to manage her house and her finances until she turned 90. By that time she found it difficult to keep up with the housecleaning and laundry, so she drove herself to the local Retirement Center and picked out her apartment. She came home, instructed her grandchildren what she would keep and what she wanted done with the rest of her belongings, including the house and her car. Within a month she was happily settled into retirement. No one had to make the difficult decision to place her in a nursing home, she made the decision herself, and that is where she lived out her life until her death at 94.
She never lost her memory or her ability to take care of her personal needs. She did get terribly hard of hearing, and the arthritis that had plagued her joints for years made it difficult for her to get around. Nonetheless, grandmother grew old gracefully with her dignity fully intact till the day she died.
Laying in her casket at the funeral home, she was dressed to the nines. Her pearls around her neck, her clip-on earrings gracing her ears. As those who knew her passed by her coffin the comments were often the same.
“She is beautiful.”
She looks just like she did when I saw her at the grocery store.”
“My, my, she never grew old, just more beautiful.”
Truer words were never spoken. She was as beautiful as she had ever been. Dressed as she had always been, with her makeup on, and hair perfectly styled. Although we could not see her shoes or a purse, we knew that they were there, and they matched.
Grandmother grew old gracefully, she died with dignity, and she passed those graces on to her 7 granddaughters, who to this day, walk in her stately footsteps.