“The Seasons of our Lives”
It was Labor Day one year ago today that my mother suffered a compound fracture of her tibia and fibula. As soon as I saw her in the hospital I knew that she had a long struggle ahead of her.
Following two operations, her leg was attached to some space-age type contraption designed to hold her foot still. The plates and screws in her leg had to have time to heal, as did the open wound where her bones had penetrated the skin.
Two months later, she moved into an independent living facility known as Huntcliff Summit in Roswell, Georgia near my sister’s home. This move was planned before her accident but came at a very good time in her life.
Her recuperation continued for months and now there are just the slightest remnants of her injury. Mary Lou and I visited her this past weekend to celebrate her full recovery. What we discovered were flowers blooming in the Fall.
If there ever was a person determined to live life to the fullest no matter what their age, health or circumstance, it is my mother. Her circle of new friends and her enjoyment of her new home made me feel not just relieved, but almost envious.
I played the piano at their “Happy Hour” before dinner on Friday evening. While Mary Lou and I have met many of her friends, this was the first time to spend significant time with them in a social setting. We had a blast.
Most seemed so happy and amazingly content. I am sure many would return to their more youthful days if given the choice, but there seemed to be very little looking back. I didn’t hear regrets. I heard laughter, which is good for the soul no matter what your age.
My mother has developed different groups of friends. Some go out to lunch on certain days. Others go to church on Sundays and to water aerobics on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Yet others sit together at dinner on certain nights. However, she kept her options open two nights a week because she wanted to be able to make new friends and welcome new residents.
Instead of withdrawing into a cocoon, Mother seems to have embraced this new season of her life with a zeal that seems infectious to those around her. She volunteered to redo Huntcliff’s directory, not a small task with over 300 residents. My sister was volunteered or drafted, depending on who you talk to, into helping with this project as well.
Mother scouts out new restaurants to take a group of friends each Wednesday, giving her an excuse to have lunch with my sister a couple times a week.
“There is so much to do and see here in Atlanta I can’t begin to get everything done”, she says with the enthusiasm of a child.
We drove home after our visit savoring the wonderful words that any child longs to hear from their mother in this season of her life. She said repeatedly with a smile on her face and a gleam in her eye, “I am so happy.”
Dan Ponder can be reached at email@example.com