Grandmother Wisdom

There is a grandmother in my life. She is not mine, but I borrow her.  As I watch her navigate her likely last decade of life, it makes me think about how I would like to be when I face such challenges in my last years, if in fact I do. Watching her makes me want to do death differently, to come to old age as gracefully as a frost-ripened vine: a crisp crumble into compost. But I am not old yet, so who am I to know?

However, as I looked at things in the meditation space, this is the information I got.

Illness et al.


Deep illness brings this choice:

To be less than

Or greater than

What you were before the jester goddess settled in,

Poaching on your piece of picket fence.


Illness sits laughing on your patio,

Eating strawberries from your refrigerator,

Grilling your steaks for her pleasure.

You can’t make her leave, but you can

Allow her.


You will see her face beside yours

In the morning mirror,

Still laughing, and pointing

From herself to you.


She will curl into

Your bed at night,

Watch your attempts at amorousness,

Or join you.


And when she sits down

With your morning granola,

Her message will be consistent:

What will you do with me?

What will your choice be?

To feed me energy like love until I am

A three-hundred pound bag lady living on

Your sofa?


Simply to find

The pilot light of god inside your breast,

And set it off,

Like fireworks,

Or dawn–

The growing glory of

Your truest self.


The choice is yours.


Illness doesn’t care.

With mischief in her eyes she asks,

“Where’d you put the Hershey kisses?”


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One Response to Grandmother Wisdom

  1. Pat Cegan says:

    It is good to ponder how we would like to be as we age. With or without illness, I want to live my life to its fullest and not have a single “If only I had done….” left. Give me death riding with the cowboys or teaching someone to be compassionate as they change my diaper. Both can work for me, though my first choice is to die astride my horse. love this write! hugs, pat

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