Category: Life lessons

Thoughts of the season

Note: I had already composed this post when we received word that my mother’s needs are greater than her assisted living home can handle, so she must move to a nursing home. My sister and brother are negotiating with the assisted living home to let her stay through Christmas so that we can observe Christmas... Read more »

Neighborliness in a high-rise

Recently I got on my building’s elevator with a man who pushed 9. I remarked that we live on the same floor and asked when he’d moved in. He’s been here more than two years! Why had we never met before — at the elevator, the trash room, the mailboxes? In my former 13-unit building,... Read more »

With gift-giving reduced, what to do with gift box contents?

Some friends and I have stopped giving gifts for Christmas and birthdays. It make sense: we say we want to purge possessions. It leaves me with a dilemma, however: what to do with the potential presents collected over the years.  A large box holds things from my own shopping, regiftables, and never-used purchases of my... Read more »

Observing dementia and feeling helpless

After Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn took a buyout offer, he began a free weekly enewsletter chockfull of his pithy commentary. I almost always agree with Zorn’s liberal political positions and count on him for evidence-backed arguments. But it was the personal item with which Zorn led off his last issue that prompted me to... Read more »

Making healthcare choices for a parent: a sad example

“Get me out of here.” “Please take me home.” “I don’t understand why I have to be here. Other people fall and aren’t sent away.” It is agonizing to listen to a parent say such things. It is impossible not to feel guilty for putting her in a rehab facility. My 94-year-old mother fell in... Read more »

Differences about what we’ll do now

My friends and I agreed about those who weren’t treating COVID as a serious health threat. But now that we’re vaccinated, we diverge about reentering seminormal life. The differences have made me feel defensive on occasion.  Did I detect a self-satisfied tone when two vaccinated friends said that they intend to keep their masks on... Read more »

Resumed activities fall short: bad luck or a bad omen?

During the pandemic, my friend Sandie and I have played Scrabble online twice a week, double the amount we used to play in person, and my book group has met via Zoom. The activity that I missed is Chicago Greeter, where I’d logged almost 1,000 hours giving tours to out-of-towners. Chicago Greeter resumed operation in... Read more »

What I’d like to say to someone who refuses a vaccine

Maybe you also know someone who doesn’t want to get a COVID vaccination. There’s a good chance that someone isn’t in the Baby Boomer generation. Eighty-five percent of us are or intend to be vaccinated, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. One in four adults under 30 are wait-and-see or definitely not. The person I... Read more »

The caring example of my cousin Bob

My cousin Bob may have been as attentive to his frail Aunt Anita, my mother, if he weren’t in a wheelchair. But he might not have had the time because, at 58, he would still have been working.  A decade ago Bob woke from back surgery in a Joliet hospital unable to move his legs.... Read more »

Being alone is a choice for many older women

Interviewed for the April issue of Harper’s Bazaar, 83-year-old Jane Fonda said she was through with romantic relationships.  “I don’t want to be in a relationship, a sexual relationship, again,” she said. “I don’t have that desire.” Three-quarters of my women friends of my generation are single, with the single numbers equally split between never married... Read more »