101 Not Out

Sun Sky and Bokeh

My Grandmother just turned 101. Kind of an anti-climax this year given that she had the ‘big’ birthday last year. Especially since the retirement village she lives in was in quarantine and no-one was allowed in – or out – to celebrate with her.

But she was in great spirits nonetheless when I rang. I could hear it in her voice. And for the first time in years what she actually said to me was ‘I might stick around for a while longer’. It was beautiful.

Last year I celebrated my Grandmother’s birthday by drinking champagne with her from crystal glasses. How many people get the chance to do that? To toast their 100 year old grandmother? I knew I was creating special memories. She actually sculled my Father’s unfinished glass. It was priceless and we all had a good laugh.

But for years she’s been saying ‘I’ve had enough’, ‘I don’t know why I’m still here’ – in effect saying she was okay to move on to whatever lies ahead. And I think about the peace she has knowing death is just around the corner. Maybe a couple more corners now she has made up her mind to ‘stick around a while longer’. But she has peace. Knowing she’s lived a good life. Seeing her family and the legacy she has created. And despite the reality that death is there waiting close by, she seems to be able to put that from her mind.

Given that death one day awaits all of us, I guess we all do really.

It’s a beautiful thing that ability to put the reality of life aside to live in the present moment. Something we all do on a daily basis. But I think a diagnosis such as cancer or any other life-threatening condition can rob us of that. I know it did for a short while with my daughter’s diagnosis. And my own. But miraculously I seem to have gained it back. That ability to thrive in the now, not worry about the future and live fully in the moment. And just as my Grandmother does too, I think we all can…

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