Her name is Florence and sometimes she answers when people call her Flo. She is two years shy of 100 which she will not live long enough to celebrate. Cancer, the disease that took her husband (Norman) and her daughter (Kitty) away, is now circulating in her. She isn’t upset and has no remorse. She has a healthy attitude about her upcoming departure, acknowledging that she has lived longer than anyone else that she knows. ” I am ready to go. I am looking forward to the next adventure, to seeing Kitty and Norman again.”
Florence has been fortunate to have lived a pain-free life, not experiencing the aches and pains that visit many people as they age. She has hearing and vision loss which until recently did not stop her from taking her daily walks and from enjoying food in her favorite restaurants. Her memory is in tact, and she can tell you what she ate for breakfast, dinner, who she talked with on the phone, recite important birth dates and tell you which large print book she is reading. It wasn’t so very long ago that she had a full head of thick wavy and mostly brown hair, making her look much younger than her actual age.
Lots of people adore and admire Florence and it is not just because she is older, open-minded and more vibrant than most people. She has a sweetness to top off all her good qualities. She is genuinely kind, a quality that has nothing to do with age and wisdom, which she has plenty of and rightfully so.
FOUR DECADES TOGETHER
She and I have had four decades together which began when I met Kitty. We have witnessed major changes in our personal lives, neighborhoods, cities , country and world, all which have been topics of conversations over coffee, tea and ethnic foods. We have both lost family members and friends. After all how could sharing four decades not include sadness as well as laughter? We had conversations while driving to a local library,restaurant, to meet friends and relatives or to visit a thrift store. We shared stories and secrets of our families; I loved hearing about how living in New York was different ninety years ago. With the exception of soy products and a few other things, we seldom disagreed. Some of our differences are the result of two different generations joining forces with different experiences and guidelines. We talked about the honesty between us and both appreciated the freedom that it gave us, recognizing that the world needs more of it.
Inner Light Is Fading
More than 10 months ago, I realized that Florence would be leaving. Her white blood cell count was sky-high, and she was disappearing in stature. She moved slower and less assuredly; more than her eyesight that was failing. Her inner light seemed a little less bright. I may not see her before she transcends. She is not feeling well, and doesn’t want to see people right now. I am not one to show up unannounced when I have been told not to come and visit. I have had my time with my friend and “mother” Florence, and I have enough memories to carry me for the rest of my life. Happy Travels Florence. Please check in once in a while.