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Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Attempting to slow down life


I don’t know how life suddenly became so busy. We don’t have kids to ferry around to hockey or soccer; only one remains at home and she is pretty self-sufficient. We have less than a fifteen minute commute to work in Kemptville, and we spend the majority of each weekend at home. Still, life goes whizzing by.
Some of our best moments are spent at the dinner table, in the garden, or in the barn. Just living, working, talking together. The best memories are not built in front of the television or computer.
The computer is a necessary evil, keeping us connected to work and friends and news in the rest of the world. But I think we can do without the TV. In 2011, the Farmer and I are going to look at our life to see how we might attempt to slow it down by simplifying things a bit.
I love living in a region with four distinct seasons – but they mark the passage of time in a way that clearly shows you how fast life is passing. Last winter we were praying for a dear friend with brain cancer. This winter we are burying him.
It’s been almost three years since we lost my dad. Three years. But as I watched the movie “The Bucket List” last week, the tears ran down my face. It is very difficult to recover from the loss of a permanent fixture in one’s heart.
I have friends entering menopause, fighting cancer, burying their husbands. Yesterday we were in high school.
Our lives are a blip on the screen. The best we can do is to surround ourselves with positive people, to keep traveling up hill, and to pause to appreciate the moments.
This morning my mother called to tell me she would not be at Sunday dinner. Instead she would be visiting with her own 95-year-old mother Vicky, who had recently suffered a fall. Vicky was only slightly hurt in the fall, thank goodness, but it put things into perspective. Occasionally she falls down and has to remain on the floor for several hours until she is discovered. She has left the water running in the bathroom for the entire day. She left the milk to burn on the stove. It is becoming unsafe for Vicky to continue to live on her own. At times like this, I wish we were Italian.
If we were Italian, I might be a stay-at-home Mom, and we could move our aging parents and grandparents into the spare wing of the house. There they would enjoy their golden years, and pass their wisdom on to the younger generation – our children and grandchildren.
But alas, we are not Italian. We work outside the home, and we are not able to move our aging family members in with us. It is time to find a new home for Vicky.
Vicky has been through some hard winters, living in a little schoolhouse in Quebec where her husband hunted, she gardened and they traded their goods for eggs at the farm down the road. As a single mom of four boys and one girl, Vicky learned to be thrifty, resourceful, creative and optimistic. When she doesn’t understand or cannot hear what you are saying, she giggles. She doesn’t get frustrated or upset – she just laughs. That’s Vicky.
And this gorgeous woman, who still paints her nails to match her russet-red hair, deserves the very best for the last few seasons of her long life.

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