In response to Amy Lyles Wilson (NPR: The Guts to Keep Going, March 12, 2007) let me make a case for gutsy old men who eat alone, do their own laundry, shop, and sew on lost buttons, if they can find the right ones.
Let me also make a small case for my belief that time, old friends and new ones, and the power of hope are priceless allies to being gutsy enough to keep going when grief strikes
When my wife died after 51 years of togetherness I was slow to learn her methods to accomplish the household chores in an organized way, even slower to seize the unquestionable closeness she maintained effectively with four daughters and our grandchildren, and now I must learn by myself how she dealt so courageously for 16 years with a progressive, debilitating disease -and never missed a beat.
I plodded through the grief following her death, anguished by the loneliness, confused by the unexpected, rapid turn of a long and happy life, and wondering daily how the surviving life partner exists when one of them dies. The color of life turns lonely, and the guts you thought you had turn to jelly.
As time passed I began to heal and mingle and ultimately met a companion. We ate out often, went to movies, stage performances, flea markets, shared the peaks and valleys of our past life and began to live a new one. It was a gift to both of us until my found companion died only 2 years after our meeting — and grief struck yet again.
But this gutsy old man who met a gutsy old woman will manage once more with time, old and new friends. Perhaps even another gutsy old woman, and certainly with the strength of hope. There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, no tonic so powerful as the thought of something better tomorrow.
So to all of us gutsy old folks, women AND men, let’s give a little thanks for the good times and look forward to a better, albeit different, time.
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