Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Exercising with Aunt Vi

19 Comments

I went to visit Aunt Vi this afternoon.  She’s 99 and able to live in her own apartment with a little help doing the cleaning and laundry and grocery shopping.  She hasn’t been outside for anything other than doctor appointments for a good long while and she’s getting a bit of cabin fever.  She has her bird Buddy as company; we tried to get him to come out and play so that I could get a picture of him on her shoulder but he wasn’t having anything to do with me.  I guess he’s camera shy.

Come out and play!

Come out and play!

 

We talked a lot about the old days, the early years of her marriage and stories of when she worked at the local hospital.  She remembered getting off work late at night after a snow storm and not being able to find her car in the parking lot.  I guess in those days there was no such thing as a remote start.  We laughed about her having to dig through the snow with her hands to open the truck and retrieve the shovel so she could dig herself out of the parking lot.  She shook her head in wonder at the things she used to do when she was younger.

I shook my head in wonder too.

She was having a good day, so she showed me the exercises she does every day to stay loose.  Standing up and hanging onto her walker she did knee lifts.  Twenty on each side.  I told her I wanted to take her picture doing those and  she laughed and sat down.  Then she made me do them.  I was not as graceful and luckily there are no pictures of that either.  I did manage to get a couple of her using her stretchy bands.  She works her legs….

Keeping the legs in shape.

Keeping the legs in shape.

…and her arms every day.

 

Strong arms!

Strong arms!

I realized she’s doing more exercise than I am, even though I’m the one carrying the Fitbit in my pocket.  I feel guilty.

I’ve often wondered what a 99 year old thinks about as she sits in her apartment watching the world go by day after day.  Turns out she thinks a lot about the old days, her son, her sisters and brothers, her parents.  The same things we think about when we take the time to sit down and reflect.  She says she doesn’t plan anything out in the future, she just enjoys today.  I said that was a lesson for all of us to learn – to just enjoy today.

She says she’s tired and frustrated that her body doesn’t work the way it used to.  She’s not used to accepting help and it still bugs her that she has to.  But she’s grateful to be living on her own in her apartment, and she’s happy that she has friends and family that visit.   Still, she knows there’s not much to look forward to and sometimes she gets pensive.  She’s had a hard but good life filled with family and love and laughter, but there are only two of her original siblings left now.  She’s said so many goodbyes.

Telling stories of the past.

Telling stories of the past.

I wonder what I will remember most when I’m 99 and looking back.  I wonder what will be the most important accomplishments, the favorite memories, the things I will laugh about, what stories I will tell.  I wonder if I will be able to carry 99 as well as she does.  I don’t know, she’s set the bar pretty high.  I had a good visit with her this afternoon.  We’re lucky she’s still around to tell the family stories.  And if she keeps on exercising she just might be around to tell us about the good old days for years to come.

I certainly hope so.

Buddy

Meet Buddy

 

 

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Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

19 thoughts on “Exercising with Aunt Vi

  1. I just love your Aunt Vi! She reminds me of my Great Aunt Lorene, who lived into her mid-90’s. She was very active into her late 80’s, and an inspiration to me the way Aunt Vi is to you. She looks wonderful. I hope that she has continued to make new friends so that saying goodbye doesn’t shrink her world so much. That’s the thing that would scare me. 😦 Hugs to you both!

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    • Thank you Heather. Since she’s pretty much apartment bound I don’t think she meets many new people. She does go down occasionally to the main floor where people gather, and there are events there. She saw a singer there this weekend, and next weekend they’re having a Valentines brunch. She looks forward to those things, but worries about whether or not they will fall on one of her ‘good’ days.

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  2. Your Aunt Vi doesn’t look 99 to me, but as I typed that I realized that I don’t know anyone who is 99 (or anyone who has lived to 99) so how would I know what 99 looks like? I love that picture of her with the stretchy band keeping her legs in shape. She looks almost ageless in her exercise. May she continue to be an inspiration to you (and to those of us reading your blog!). 🙂

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  3. Aunt Vi looks great. I’m so glad she has visitors and Buddy to keep her company. It must be hard to outlive so many of your loved ones. What do you look forward to at 99? It’s a pensive question but I am pretty sure she looked forward to your visit today.

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    • It sounds as though she’s had a few visitors lately. Everyone is bringing her sweets, as we all know she likes a little something before she goes to bed. She’s got quite the pile of cookies and coffee cake!

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  4. Your Aunt Vi is amazing!

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  5. Go Aunt Vi! She looks absolutely beautiful. She reminds me of the 95 year old yoga teacher Tao Porchon Lynch

    May she continue to enjoy her independence for years to come.

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  6. She’s a doll, I think you’re wrong, she’s nowhere near 80, let alone 99. You’ve got some good genes coming to you!

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  7. What a wonderful post! It is great she still exercises and is able to live independently. It is hard to reach such an age without having met a lot of loss, you mist bring a bright spot into her days. Thanks for sharing

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  8. Hi Aunt Vi and Buddy! Your Aunt Vi sounds like a human version of the Energizer Bunny.

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  9. It’s good to see Aunt Vi still looking and feeling so great and keeping so active. She is an inspiration, isn’t she, Dawn? Gorgeous, too!

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  10. Such a proud testimony to 99 years of good living, Dawn! You’re lucky to have such a valuable example right in your own family — I can’t think of a single relative of mine who’s made it to 99 (maybe one of us “kids” will, ha!)

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  11. My goodness! She is 99???!!! OMG she looks incredible!

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  12. I hope I’m doing as well as your aunt if I am lucky enough to live to 99 and beyond!

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  13. She has set the bar very high! What a great lady, it does make it feel bitter sweet though, thinking about getting there, and all the people who don’t.

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