Joan is the epitome of love, grace, kindness, patience, gentleness, compassion, generosity, thoughtfulness and so much more. Even though she has spent many years in a nursing home, and this year a broken hip robbed her of her mobility, I have never heard her complain.
She always asks if I had trouble parking because she doesn’t want me to have to walk too far. Her conversations are all about me – how am I? How is all my family? What have I been doing? She tells me about the folk in the home, the ones she is concerned about.
Her whole life she has cared for others. As a nursing sister and passionate worker within the Nurses Christian Fellowship, Joan cared for and nurtured a myriad of people in her lifetime. As a friend she poured herself out in love in endless ways and always with a beautiful smile and a keen sense of humour.
As many people came together to celebrate her 90 years, I watched her quietly caring for each person who spent time with her. It made me realise that the way you live your life is the way you live old age. Sometimes Joan can get a little confused and her mind is not quite as sharp as it used to be and yet her loving, caring, thoughtfulness never ceases to shine though. Its second nature, its who she is ... a woman of grace.
In contrast, those who are negative or complaining in life bring those attributes to old age. We've all met them, grumpy and cantankerous ... never quite content. They are miserable in life and somehow it seems magnified in old age.
Joan's life has been an inspiration to me and now she is inspiring me in old age. It seems to me that we spend a lifetime 'becoming' and old age is the evidence of what we’ve become. Both a sobering and motivating thought!