I am an old woman
That’s quite an age, I would say
I am what they call frail elderly
What does that mean exactly?
Well, I am wobbly on my feet
I have aches and pains in most places
Sometimes I can’t even straighten up.
Sometimes I drop things
and can't open jars
I go to the bathroom often
Occasionally I don’t make it
But pads help.
Depressing, you might say
But I would say
No, not at all.
You see, that is not really me
It is just a costume
That disguises who I truly am.
Then, who am I?
I’m getting closer to answering that
How? By a strange route
It turns out that my pain has been my greatest gift
Although I resist it and curse it
Especially at night in my frequent trips to the bathroom
I pour out my rage and grief and fear.
But still it assaults my body
And I learn that it is not only the pain I am angry at
It goes deeper than that
It has been with me a long time
I rage in silence
Just like my mother
I never wanted to be like her
But I’ve discovered I am more like her
Than I would like to admit.
But you know something
When you face your demons
They are not all that bad
I don’t mind being like her
She is tender and fierce
And angry and critical
But I’m learning something from swimming
In these murky turbulent waters
I’m learning that I love my mother
And I forgive her for her anger and criticism and judgment
And I love and accept all these warts in myself
I needed them at one time
They are not needed anymore
But still they cling
Like burrs on a dog’s coat
They are part of the armour of my wounded inner child
I remove them gently and lovingly.
It may sound weird
But I am spending time with my inner child
Singing with her
Reading children’s books
And listening to her complaints
Crying with her
Laughing with her
Loving her tenderly.
So is there light at the end of this dark tunnel
Absolutely there is
I can’t be sure but I think
I am in the middle of a transformation
It is the death of all that was
So that the new me can emerge
It is happening each day as I preside
Over the decline of my body
A body that doesn’t walk, stand and get up
The way it used to
Each day I grieve its passing and then let go.
So I will introduce you to the new me
Though I am only just getting acquainted with her myself
She is a lot like the old me
Except she laughs more, sings more and cries more
She is less critical of herself and others
When things don’t go so well
She may curse first but then she smiles
And says I choose love
When she judges herself or others
She says I choose peace.
I am in wilderness territory right now
As death looms closer, I realize how blessed I am
I am blessed by my family and friends
And by life itself
I don’t know how all this will turn out
I know I can’t do this alone
So I surrender all my fears to the Divine Beloved
My mantra these days is
My soul magnifies the Lord.