PAGE 6

"I don't know how I'll be able to handle the pain and regret of losing those closest to me."


Maya Angelou: "For me, 76 was the hardest year. I lost friends. I try to remember all the good times. I keep photographs around. And I speak to my friends and family who have gone on. When I look out my window—everything is so lush in North Carolina—I see a Japanese maple tree. It's a burnished purple against a background of honeysuckle that reaches up into the oak tree. I think of my mom and my brother and people I love who would love to see this. I'm seeing it. And through my eyes, they're seeing it as well."

Rachel Naomi Remen: "When my mom faced the death of her last surviving sibling, she was left alone—she had a lifetime of memories and nobody to share them with. That's one result of aging: Nobody recalls your family nickname, your stories, your years. Because my mom had a heart condition, I was afraid she'd have a heart attack at the news of her brother's death. That's when she told me the most interesting thing: 'Rachel, I couldn't have dealt with this when I was 40. But now that I'm 80, I'm strong enough. The only way that I am weak is in my body. It takes a lifetime of experience to learn to deal with trauma like this.' I was blown away by my mother's words. There's a saying, 'Life makes you ready to meet with the things you met with.' At 67 I can deal with things that would have completely devastated me at 33. Like the death of a friend. The person who's going to deal with Alzheimer's is not the 33-year-old you. The person who's going to deal with Alzheimer's is a person who has built courage and tenacity. Most people in the United States are not aware of the power that you get simply from life experience. We build strength, disappointment by disappointment."

More on Aging

NEXT STORY

Next Story

Comment

LONG FORM
ONE WORD