Both of my grandmothers turn 93 this week.
It’s hard enough to believe that I have one grandparent alive, let alone two, considering my own age. Up until my grandfather’s passing last year, it was three. I hope this indicates longevity for me. It seems I come from a strong gene pool.
But birth dates aside, my two grandmothers are quite different.
My maternal grandmother is in general good health, but suffers from dementia. It’s been hard to watch her memory fade, and her once sharp, analytical mind deteriorate. Once a librarian, she was an avid reader who instilled a love of reading in all of her daughters. She doesn’t read anymore. She can’t remember what she’s read and doesn’t even try to fake it anymore. Nor does she do the crossword puzzles that used to clutter many surfaces of her apartment. She still remembers all of us, and we are fortunate to enjoy her company. She had no idea she was turning 93 today, and doesn’t quite believe it’s true no matter how many people tell her. She says she feels 43, and guessed she might be 73. If I feel that young when I’m her age, it will be a blessing.
My paternal grandmother enjoys excellent health and is still sharp as a tack. She lives on her own in Florida and belongs to an art club and singing group and is very active in her community. I hope that I am as able to enjoy my life and hobbies as she is, if I’m lucky enough to be 93. What am I saying, I’m lucky to be able to enjoy them NOW!
As I celebrate their birthdays this week, I think it’s only natural to compare myself to them both and wonder what I’ll be like at that age. The idea of losing any mental cognition scares me to death, but could be my reality. Or, maybe I’ll be one of the few who can live independently and actively well into my old age.
In reality, I am not much like either one of my grandmothers, and can’t quite envision what my life might be like fifty years from now. I know I won’t take for granted that I have another fifty years; I tend to want to make the most of my life right now, in case my future isn’t quite so far-reaching. I'm not sure they felt this same carpe diem when they were my age. It might be more a sign of the times.
Though I’m not like either one of them, I could be a nice blend. In an ideal distant future, I’ll still enjoy all my hobbies, and read as much as I can. And if I’m really, really lucky, when I’m that old, I’ll feel like I’m 43.