When Joyce posted this little poem below on Facebook, it somehow hit home. I’ve been assured that I do not have Alzheimer’s (yet) but most people who have reached my age have noted decided slipping — decreased strength, agility, memory, hearing,  vision, energy, mental acuity. My new geriatrician inquired especially about my memory and when I said I have lately had more trouble remembering people’s names he said that was not unusual. He asked if I had trouble remembering the names of things and I immediately thought of Peg (now gone to the Lord) asking for “the name of the thing that goes over the water.” My friend and I came up with “bridge” and looked at each other. Peg was indeed slipping.

A few years ago I read the book Elegy for Iris, a famous author who was aware of the first signs of her slipping into what was finally to be  a devastating condition of being “sick, sad, and lost” as in the poem below.  What struck me was that at the beginning, Iris, herself, was aware of the onset.


Oh it’s a long, long while
from May ‘till December
And the days grow short
When you reach September.
When the Autumn weather
turns the leaves to flame
One hasn’t got time
For the waiting game.

For the days dwindle down
To a precious few…
And these few precious days
I’ll spend with you.
These precious days
I’ll spend with you.

Having weathered yet another winter I find I am enjoying this springtime more than ever. The blue sky, the warm sunshine, discovering the my fig tree has survived the snow and the frost once again.  How many times do we have to see life spring forth from the ashes before we will believe in it?  As I watch myself slip physically almost imperceptibly, how is it that I feel, at the same time, growth  in strange and unexplainable  ways?

When you know it is already December and the slipping becomes obvious, it is time to put it all in the hands of the God who does all things well. I have six children who are both good and kind and doubt that anyone will ever find me sitting alone on the sturbcone, chewing gubber rum. Being sick, sad, and lost does not appeal (not do any of the other terrible things that can happen to people) but even suffering has a reason and there comes a time to “Let go and let God.”

This is an old song, so old that my friends do not recognize the tune.   I understand that Barney Fife sang it in church in an episode of the Waltons.
Welcome sweet springtime,
We greet thee in song,
Murmurs of gladness,
Fall on the ear.
Voices long hushed,
Now their full notes, prolong,
Echoing far and near.
God’s gifts put Man’s best dreams to shame….
Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go. — John 21:18