SENIOR WOMEN MAKE MEMORIES

Jan 14th, 2012 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: For Senior Women

A Relationship with Memories

The editor of AARP The Magazine, Nancy Perry Graham, wrote about making memories in a recent edition.  She wrote about a trip her mother, daughter and she took to New York City recently.  Her final paragraph struck a chord with me:  “The anxious and angry moments are fleeting; the mess from the play dough can be swept away. But the memories of good times together stay with us for a lifetime.”

I still feel the huge hole left in my life when my father died just two weeks ago. He was 96, so his presence in my life was forged both with many years of being together as well as a deep and abiding love that a daddy and daughter feel for each other.  I’m now forced to look for ways to make that hole go away, or at least get smaller so life doesn’t feel quite so empty.

Memories, Distant and Recent

And I’m now beginning to realize the answer is in the memories, such as Graham wrote about.  Memories of a childhood with my hard-working father who always made time to help us trim the Christmas tree, cut the pumpkins faces for our jack-0-lanterns, come to all our piano and organ recitals, attend church on Sunday mornings, teach us how to drive a car and give each of us away on our wedding day.

Our family vacations were such fun!  We went fishing in Northern Minnesota because Daddy loved to fish.  But my sisters and I loved water skiing, so the compromise was to fish every morning and water ski every afternoon.  He loved driving the boat and pulling us on skis behind him.  Mom spent half her time in the boat with him and the other half skiing with us.

He paid for college educations for all four of us, without a whimper.  He even helped with a couple of Masters degrees.  He and Mom took our Brazilian exchange-student sister into their home for almost a year, loving her and providing for her as they did for the four of us.

The most recent memories were intentionally created just three weeks before he died.  Jerry and I traveled to Arizona to spend two weeks there, creating memories that we knew would carry us beyond his earthly life.  We did not know how soon he would die.  We just knew he was failing.  So we had lunch or brunch or dinner together every day for 10 days, always with his favorite Merlot wine by his plate.  We laughed our way through those happy times, enjoying the witty things that would surface through his dementia.  And we always ended our days together with hugs and reassurances of our commonly shared love and devotion with him and our step-mom. He died 12 days after we departed.

The memories make all the difference.  The hole just got a little smaller, a little less daunting.

 



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