Last month, my mother celebrated her 97th birthday. As a special treat, an acquaintance, the proprietor of a restaurant, offered to prepare a special meal in honor of the event. I thought it would be a wonderful treat, but as they say, no good deed goes unpunished. When the proprietor came by to ask how mom was enjoying her lunch, she answered that she didn’t like it and wouldn’t finish it. Needless to say, I won’t be taking her back to that restaurant any time soon.
Age, they say, has it’s privilege and candor appears to be one of them, a privilege shared with the very young. Jane Juska, author of two memoirs, marvels at the candor of her 5 year-old granddaughter. (“Lady Chats” by Jane Juska, Good Housekeeping, April, 2013, pg. 196) The pair have “lady Chats,” as they take walks together and on occasion the granddaughter quizzes her grandmother about death. What will happen to Juska when she dies, the girl wonders. Having no concept of death, the girl presumes they will continue to communicate after her grandmother is gone.
Juska doesn’t mind these frank talks about death. She prefers them to her children’s evasions. When she stumbles or forgets where she’s left her glasses, they always say, “You’re not old, mother. We do that sort of thing all the time.” Juska prefers the truth and wants to tell her children, “If you need symptoms, get some of your own.” (Ibid, pg. 196) Her granddaughter is refreshing because she is a truth teller. “You stumbled because you’re old, grandma.” (Ibid, pg. 196)
I consider Juska a brave women. Frankly, I would prefer the dissembling of her children. Much of life is illusion. Why not an illusion about my age? I’m not old. I’m a young 76.
(Courtesy of www.oceansbridge.com)