Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Living to 100

Last week my SIL and I went to visit her (and my husband's) aunt in the nursing home. Auntie is 100 years and 7 months old. At her 100th birthday Auntie was starting to slip, asking questions that didn't make sense. But still kind of there, at least some of the time.

By now she is pretty loopy almost all the time. She kept being surprised that my SIL (her niece) knows her brother (SIL's dad). "Oh, you're related??" she'd say with surprise. We had no hope of trying to help her figure out who I was.. her nephew's wife?? Too far beyond her capacity.

Once we got her talking about her memories, she could talk pretty clearly and the old Auntie that I remember shined through. She talked about how she and her sister used to ride the horses on the farm after the horses were too old for farm work. The sisters were close in age and were "inseparable." I can relate. I have a sister only 16 months older, and we, too, were inseparable. I suppose when I'm 100 I'll talk about us and our games.

Seeing Auntie in a fog, living in a nursing home, relying on others to feed her, bathe her, dress her, entertain her while she slumps in her wheelchair.... it gives one pause. How badly do I want to reach age 100 if life will be like that?

In my dreams, when I am old I am still cognizant and alert. I can still read books, and I can follow current events. Maybe someone can cook and clean for me (YES!), but I can do other stuff and still have fun.

That's the ideal, of course. How many of us will actually be that way when/if we reach the age of 100? I have my mom's example.. maybe I'll be as lucky and still be sharp and aware like she is, at least into my 90s. One can hope.

Life can be full of tricks and surprises. Who knows what is in store? No one. And sometimes the glimpse into the future isn't all that appealing.

Auntie is still beautiful, and she is sort of aware of things, but only briefly. Then you start all over again, and she's surprised, again, that her niece is related to her family. She lives in a tiny circle.

I am making Auntie a small lap quilt. She talked about "the Little One" in her lap who gets cold; she has to keep rubbing her to keep her warm. So I offered to make a blanket. Auntie told me her favorite color is blue. She won't remember that I was even there, much less that I offered to make her a blanket, but I'm doing it anyway. After all, there's that Little One to keep warm.

Here's the lap quilt, before being quilted. I hope to finish it in the next few days. When the recipient is 100, a quilt needs to be made quickly. Who will make me a quilt when I'm 100? I'm not so sure I want to get there to find out.

I measured Auntie's lap with my hand and determined this would be about the right size. It measures 31" x 35".


BrendaLou said...

she may not remember who made the lap quilt for her, but she'll enjoy it (and it's Blue! her favorite color). Bless you for your thoughtfulness.

Jeanne said...

Lovely and loving quilt, poignant post!

Andi said...

My husband's grandma just turned 101! I made her a jelly roll quilt for Christmas and she thanks me every time I see her. And that's why I quilt, to cover people in love:-)

KC said...

What a lovely, sad and thought provoking post. Thank you. We just moved my 96 year old mother from assisted living to memory care. Dementia is not a kind disease as otherwise my mother is very healthy. I heard on the news yesterday that 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 will suffer with a form of dementia. Not a very comforting bit of information.