Don’t Give Up

There is a saying I think about regarding perseverance: When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on.  That’s what I think of when I see how some of the people I visit deal with various degrees of adversity mostly related to health concerns.   Here are some examples.
He recently celebrated his 87th birthday at EXACTLY 9:00 am the time he was delivered at home by the midwife in attendance.  He has reason to see the cloudy side of life since he now wears only one shoe but that too brings out his sense of humor.  He was trying to put on his one shoe but was having trouble getting it to fit when he exclaimed, “Well the problem is not that I am trying to put the shoe on the wrong foot.”  We both laugh at his self deprecation. He does have a temporary prosthesis; a rather hollow tube like device which he says might better serve another purpose: fill it with dirt and give a tomato plant a new home. Life’s problems are more easily solved with a smile than a frown a lesson he tries to practice. Hairless because of treatment, she has a hairpiece that she says makes her look a lot younger than she really is.  The wig is colorful (auburn) and stylish and does indeed give her an appearance that she says is her return to an earlier life when she thought of her hair as a  ‘problem’  but today a symbol of happy days gone by.
The room is small but does have some space where mementoes from the past can be displayed such as family photographs, cards, notes from friends and an occasional flower to brighten up the room.  Theses personal items are constant reminders to her of  better days when thoughts of tomorrow were only sunny and bright but now, reduced to a few cherished memories which she says gives her a ‘don’t give up’ sense of comfort amid less pleasing surroundings.
To make him smile, just make a comment about his grandson whose picture is posted on a small bedside bulletin board.  Mention to him about his successful past career as a school administrator and remind him of the impact he has had on many lives and he seems to glow.  Recently he was honored by a local civic group with the naming of one of its projects in his honor, and he happily shows the visitor a photograph to prove it.  What brings happiness?
And then there is something we all universally share, something that increases as we grow older, something that can bring a tear but often, brings us to recall instantly happy moments forever etched in our being. And what is this common yoke?  It’s memories, the treasures of the mind.
“When Time, who steals our years away
Shall steal our pleasure, too,
The mem’ry of the past will stay,
And half our joy renew.”   Thomas Moore
Bill Lee, PO Box 128,
Hamer, SC 29547

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