I read an anecdote about a little boy who told his 90-year-old grandfather: “Grandpa, I’m so inspired that up to now, you still call Grandma ‘sweetheart.’” The grandfather whispered to the grandson: “Don’t tell this to Grandma, OK? You see, I have forgotten her name!”
There is also another story about an old man who was asked in a seniors’ gathering: “At your age, sir, what would you prefer, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s?” He said: “I’d rather have Parkinson’s. Better to spill half of my wine than to forget where I kept the bottle!”
How do we accompany the elderly–those who have braved the noonday sun and are now journeying toward their sunset years? Let us delight in the humor that our parents and grandparents bring to us, treasure the values and lessons they teach us, and be truly edified and inspired by their lives.
Sharing with you this beautiful poem by Esther Mary Walker who wrote it during the time she took care of her father.
“Beatitudes for Friends of the Aged”
Blessed are they who understand my faltering step and shaking hand.
Blessed are they who know that my ears today must strain to hear the words they say.
Blessed are they who seem to know that my eyes are dim and my mind is slow.
Blessed are they who looked away when my coffee spilled today.
Blessed are they who with a cheery smile stopped to chat for a little while.
Blessed are they who never say, “You’ve told that story twice today!”
Blessed are they who know the way to bring back memories of yesterday.
Blessed are they who make it known that I am loved, respected, and not alone.
Blessed are they who will ease the days of my journey home in loving ways.
Gratitude is also the best attitude especially in our sunset years. When we say “Thank you, Lord, for everything” we say goodbye to our regrets, worries, and fears. The rest of our lives can become the best years of our lives if we spend our sunset years with reparation, intercession, and purification. Even the trials, pains, and sufferings of growing old can become more meaningful if we see them as an offering for God, and for others.
The Lord tells us: “I will still be carrying you when you are old. Your hair will turn gray, and I will still carry you” (Isaiah 46:4). May our sunset years, the “autumn” of our lives, be filled with gratitude, serenity, and joy as we journey toward God’s loving embrace. Let this be our prayer: “Lord, grant me the grace to live the rest of my life, the best of my life!”