I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
I just got off the phone from speaking to an octogenarian friend. She phoned an out-of-date work phone number of mine last Saturday morning and left a vague message. The recipient only just tracked me down and passed it along.
It turns out she was concerned that she would be unable to host our Christmas get-together. This woman broke her hip two years ago--something wasn't right and she had to have surgery re-done this year. Then she had a car accident (I don't think she should have been driving for the last 5 years or so, but I don't get a vote because I'm not related to her). On the way into the emergency ward at the hospital, she fell again! She's currently in a wheelchair & having home care daily to help her get breakfast & make her bed, etc. And she's worried about a Christmas party.
I've got to spend more time visiting this lady--I've promised to go see her between Christmas and New Year's, but I think I'll slip up to see her this weekend too.
This about 3 weeks after visiting another friend who is in her early 80s--went to her assisted living facility and found out that her dementia had progressed to the point that she is now on a locked ward. She didn't recognize me when I approached her, but after we had talked a bit, she said, "You sound like a friend of mine." I told her, "That's because I am a friend of yours." She agreed to visit with me & another friend and by the end of the visit she was chatting happily (about the same 2-3 things, over and over). She probably still didn't really know who we were, but she at least recognized us as friends. I almost cried when we left the facility! But I'm committed to going back, just so the staff know that there are people who care about her.
Plus, one of my aunts, who just turned 90 this year, had a mini-stroke last week. She's improving, but she has dementia too and a stroke has not improved things for her.
It's so agonizing, watching the deterioration of these strong women who have all been so influential in my life. I'm so glad that I went to another aunt's 80th birthday party a couple of weekends ago--it was worth every penny that I paid for the plane ticket to celebrate a happy occasion, instead of a funeral.
The next few years will be all about spending time with these awesome women and appreciating the examples that they have set for me.