I lost my wisdom for a while there and reached for the solutions of the West and the Beaten. There are wise ways to pass through this – as an Elder. Head up. Shoulders back.
“Elders watch children grow, and when they are ready to move to the next level they go through ceremonies to move to the next level of learning. All learning and life is part of a movement from circle to circle outwards until you become an
Elder in the outer circle, protecting and caring for all.
Source: Elders are protection, wisdom and support. | THE OLD PROVERBIAL RECOVERY
I left my robes hanging on a pegin the old cabinwhere I had sat so longand slept so little.I finally understoodI had no giftfor Spiritual Matters.
Source: Leonard Cohen Makes It Darker – The New Yorker
Summer afternoons we spent beside Eagle Pond, on a bite-sized beach among frogs, mink, and beaver. Jane lay in the sun, tanning, while I read books in a canvas sling chair. Every now and then, we would dive into the pond. Sometimes, for an early supper, we broiled sausage on a hibachi. After twenty years of our remarkable marriage, living and writing together in double solitude, Jane died of leukemia at forty-seven, on April 22, 1995.Now it is April 22, 2016, and Jane has been dead for more than two decades. Earlier this year, at eighty-seven, I grieved for her in a way I had never grieved before. I was sick and thought I was dying. Every day of her dying, I stayed by her side—a year and a half. It was miserable that Jane should die so young, and it was redemptive that I could be with her every hour of every day. Last January I grieved again, this time that she would not sit beside me as I died.
Source: Double Solitude – The New Yorker
The insults of age had been piling up for so long that I was almost numb to them. The husband (when I still had one): “You’re not going out in that sleeveless top?” The grandchild: “Nanna, why are your teeth grey?” The pretty young publisher tottering along in her stilettos: “Are you right on these stairs, Helen?” The flight attendant at the boarding gate: “And when you do reach your seat, madam, remember to stow that little backpack riiiight under the seat in front of you!” The grinning red-faced bloke who mutters to the young man taking the seat beside me: “Bad luck, mate.” The armed child behind the police station counter unable to conceal her boredom as I describe the man in a balaclava, brandishing a baton, who leapt roaring out of the dark near the station underpass and chased me and my friend all the way home: “And what were you scared of? Did you think he might hit you with his umbrella?”
Really, it is astonishing how much shit a woman will cop in the interests of civic and domestic order.
But last spring I got a fright. I was speaking about my new book to a university lecture theatre full of journalism students. I had their attention. Everything was rolling along nicely. Somebody asked me a question and I looked down to collect my thoughts. Cut to the young lecturer’s face surprisingly close to mine. “Helen,” he murmured, “we’re going to take you to the medical clinic.” What? Me? Apparently, in those few absent moments, of which I still have no memory, I had become confused and distressed; I didn’t know where I was or why I was there. He thought I might be having a stroke.
The rest of that afternoon I lay at my ease in an Emergency cubicle at the Royal Melbourne, feeling strangely light-hearted. I kept thinking in wonder, I’ve dropped my bundle. All scans and tests came up clear. Somebody asked me if I’d ever heard of transient global amnesia. I was home in time for dinner.
Next morning I took the hospital report to my GP. “I’ve been worried about you,” she said. “It’s stress. You are severely depleted. Cancel the rest of your publicity tour, and don’t go on any planes. You need a serious rest.” I must have looked sceptical. She leant across the desk, narrowed her eyes, and laid it on the line: “Helen.You. Are. 71.”
I went home and sulked on the couch for a week, surveying my lengthening past and shortening future.
Anette, 67, lives alone in a western suburb of Sydney, roughly 25 minutes by car from the CBD. She rents a one-bedroom flat nearby to her two young grandchildren, whom she helps to care for. When she is not caring for her grandchildren Annette works part-time as a teacher at a school for children with special needs. In addition to her pay, she receives a partial age pension, plus Rent Assistance, from Centrelink.“The rent is going up on my place, and it’s going up out of my reach,” Annette tells me, when we meet. Her total income comes to just over $2,000 a month, but she currently pays more than half of her income in rent, and she cannot afford the increase. She would like to remain in her current flat until the end of her six-month lease, but will be looking for somewhere else to live in the meantime. On her income it will be difficult to find affordable rent in Sydney, but with her work and family commitments she is not in a position to be able to leave the city either. “I’ve come to the point where I don’t know what’s going to happen to me,” she says.Annette is not alone in the uncertainty of her accommodation. The number of older women who are rental tenants in Australia is growing, and these women, if not already poor, are increasingly vulnerable to poverty and homelessness.
Source: Nowhere to go – older women and housing vulnerability – Right Now