Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Still Me, with Kinks

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Still Me, with Kinks

Article excerpt

I can't tell you how old my mother is because she would kill me. Let s just say that she was alive when Ireland, homeland of her father and mother, threw off the shackles of Great Britain and became the Irish Free State. (If you have to look up that date, so much the better for you.) She has proceeded through her years with great style. Mom hung up the car keys gracefully a few years back when the doctor said she might not be safe behind the wheel. She does, however, regularly ride the bus and "el" here in Chicago on her way to shop downtown. She chuckles as she discusses with her friends their strategies for going up and down the basement stairs to do the laundry while staving off falls and the dreaded hip fracture. We call in vain to keep her from going out and sweeping the snow off the front steps in winter.

Mom has been in the hospital several times in the last month. She tells me she is fed up with medical personnel who gush over the fact that at her age she lives an active life. "Isn't that amazing?" they exclaim. She covertly rolls her eyes.

At the end of one of these visits, an attendant at the Catholic hospital wheeled her out to my sister's car and said offhandedly, "So, off to a nursing home?"

"Thanks a lot!" she shot back.

Imagine that you are going along living your life (still feeling 16 on the inside, as Mom says she does) and everyone begins telling you that it is remarkable--absolutely remarkable!--that you still walk, talk, read, go to church, pay your bills, understand your medications, and work the crossword puzzle. …

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