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I laugh at myself and sometimes cry for my humiliation

April, 2011

How lucky can I be?

Today, at 88, like most everyone my age, I look back to moments of great happiness and unwanted sorrows. Regardless, I am still here, happy and forever grateful to be surrounded by the people I love most in the world: my family, who spoil me rotten, and my friends.

Oh! Don’t get me wrong! There has not been one day for the past 25 years or so that I did not get up with one pain or another in different parts of my body. I avoid complaining and try to live positively one day at a time. If I dwell on my suffering, I feel worse. It’s important for me to stay active and alive regardless of my limited mobility.

More often than not, I laugh at myself and also cry for my humiliation, especially when I need help in the shower. I have to surrender to an army of kind, tolerant, patient assistants in every aspect of my life.

Aging comes at an insidious speed, swiftly and diligently, whether you like it or not. My first wrinkle appeared one morning while I was washing my face. I thought it was a pillow scar, sleeping on the same side very night. Trying to stretch it, pull it, and straighten it, I gave up. The next attempt, I realized there was nothing I could do to erase it, so looking in the mirror, I said out loud: “Well, good morning, You!”

What’s that brown spot on my hand? Even after washing and scrubbing, it remains, and many, many more show up.

Visiting my son and his wife one weekend, my grandson, who was five at the time, was standing by my bed at 6 a.m. waiting for me to wake up. I sensed a presence and opened one eye.

“Grandmaman, do you dye your hair?” At the time I had a crown of white hair just in front and the rest was still dark brown. Then he added: “You are not going to die?” “No, my darling, not for a long time.” I had been awakened from a beautiful dream, walking hand in hand with my late husband at the seashore. We were both in our 30s and so much in love.

I am alive! I still want to be heard. To keep my place in society is a struggle now. I have the impression that older people are not to be heard or to be seen. On gène par notre presence. Politely, for a few minutes, you are listened to, and then that’s it.

I have so much to say about love, compassion, giving and sharing the activities I am so passionate about. But, then again, I am passionate about life. Sharing could be interesting to write about in my next article, n’est-ce pas?

Thérèse Bourque Lambert is the founder and president of the Theresa Foundation, which supports 24 AIDS-stricken villages in Malawi. To contribute, call 514-487-0258.



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