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Wrinkles mean you laughed...

Thursday, July 07, 2016

Yesterday, I went to visit my Aunt and Uncle in Clear Lake, Iowa. I had not seen them in a year, and heard that my Uncle isn't doing so well (they are both 88 years old). I have been a consistent visitor to them since I moved to Minnesota, now 20 years ago. They live two hours away, and they used to live 2500 miles away, when I was in Southern California, so it has been a treat to live closer. My Uncle is my Mom's older brother, and one of the reasons I went, is because I wanted to talk to them about my Mother, and her memory issues. They told me that Mom didn't send them a Christmas card this past year, and she has done Christmas cards ALWAYS. I told them that I didn't get one either, and the reason she didn't send one, is that she was not up to that task. She isn't, and it will get worse. They both asked me why nobody told them before this. I said, I can't believe you have not been told this. My sisters went down and saw them last week, and said nothing. I'm not big on hiding stuff, and not being honest and real about everything. So, I told them ALL of it. My Aunt cried, and told me that she loved my Mom. I got tears too, and told her and my Uncle that my Mom loves them just as much.

We ended up talking for more than five hours, about Mom, about my Daughter, about life. They are magnificent people, and I love them dearly. My Uncle is having trouble with a lot of things, but we don't know exactly what they are, because he won't go to a doctor, and has not been to one for over 40 years. We sat at their house, then went to lunch, then he left to go to do some work on one of his farms. My Aunt told me how poorly he is doing, and the fact that he has not been to a doctor in years. She and I ended up talking for another hour, about him, and about life, and about my darling Daughter, who was named for her.

Neither my Aunt or Uncle is very demonstrative. One of my favorite things yesterday, was that my Uncle grabbed my hand, told me how much it meant to him that I had kept in touch, been to MANY Thanksgivings and events at their house, and how much fun it was to have me, and how glad he was that I made the trip. It was my TREAT to be with them, and I was incredibly touched at his words. I looked at him and told him that I loved him, and I would be back. He patted my hand. That was his "I love you, too", which I understood clearly.

Often, it is said about Norwegians that they are not demonstrative. My Mother, and my Uncle are 100% Norwegian. My Mom figured out how to hug, how to say I love you, and I think some of those stereotypes are from a few generations ago. My Uncle isn't demonstrative, but he clearly knows how to love.

As I left my Aunt, I told her that I was so glad that she was the example and namesake for my DD. As soon as I knew I was having a girl, I knew I would name her after my Aunt. I told my Aunt that I couldn't have picked a better person to have my DD emulate. I hugged her (SHE'S a good hugger!!), and she told me to stop it. NEVER! It's all true.

Tomorrow, I head for Colorado to visit with my AWESOME and spectacular older brother. I get to see a Nephew, one of my cousins, and spend time with my Brother and his wife. I am looking forward to all of it.

This blog was about aging, and my point is this. My Aunt and Uncle are 88. They are smart as ever, have great humor, and the packaging may have fallen, but those magnificent inner cores are still there, shining through. Wrinkles, scars and grey hair, are the indicators of a well-lived life. Never be afraid to show your badges of a life lived courageously.

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    This story hit home for me... I'm worried that my mom is having early signs of memory loss and it scares me to death!!! I'm so sorry about your mom & uncle!!! It is so important to spend time w/ those we love and I am so glad you had such a nice experience!

    1810 days ago
    What a sweet blog. I'm glad you had such a great visit. emoticon
    1811 days ago
    1811 days ago
    This writing was very sweet and endearing. Thank you. I haven't had a Aunt or Uncle in many years. Mater of fact I haven't had parents in a very long time. I always enjoy hearing about someone else's.
    1811 days ago
  • no profile photo CD15665102
    Beautiful post. Thank you!
    1812 days ago
    I'm so glad that you are demonstrative of affection and give it so freely - because you are the legacy that lives on from your family. Your aunt and uncle know what a treasure you are, and they show their love in ways that work for them, and that should be cherished. I would take showing love over saying it, every time!

    Have a safe drive to CO, and a wonderful visit with more of your family. I will be thinking of you in your travels, knowing that they will be safe and full of love.

    1812 days ago
  • L*I*T*A*
    what an awesome story!!
    thanks for sharing!!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1812 days ago
    You have such a wonderful loving relationship with your parents, your aunt and uncle, Jane...
    Your uncle's words are beautiful. Few man can express their love so well.
    I believe it was good you told them about your mother's condition.

    Reading your blog this morning made me happy.
    1812 days ago
    Good for you for staying connected with these special folks. It's easy to get so busy with our "regular lives" that we don't MAKE time to visit friends and relatives, especially those who may have difficulty making their way to see US.
    1812 days ago
    love this!

    It is so nice when you have a loving family. I'm sure that your visits have meant a lot to your aunt and uncle.

    enjoy your time in Colorado.

    safe travels!
    1812 days ago
    Amen! Live fully, without regrets, and wear it well! emoticon
    1812 days ago
  • HEDSTS58
    I figured out a long time ago that I earned these wrinkles from laughter and worry. I miss my Aunt and Uncle. You're lucky. I'm sorry about your Mom. Mine is 88 years old and is becoming more delicate.
    1812 days ago
    Awwwww, aging isn't for sissies, is it. So glad you got to spend that time w/your Aunt and Uncle. Clearly they were very happy you visited!

    My dear. . . I can only say that Alzheimer's is a vile disease that takes you apart piece by piece. I try to enjoy my Mom each day at the level she's at. She always has a smile and THAT makes me smile.

    1812 days ago
    What an endearing story of your Aunt and Uncle! I can feel right through your words that they are much loved! It's wonderful to hear! I wish you all the best!
    Enjoy the rest of your trip!
    1812 days ago
  • ALICIA214

    I enjoyed your blog very much, all that you said probably rings a bell in most lives. Enjoy your closeness with your family, it is a precious gift.. emoticon
    1812 days ago
  • no profile photo JEANNETTE59
    Thank you for sharing this love story with us. Because demonstrative or not, this is truly a family's story of love and devotion. Your sisters don't know what they're missing. Enjoy the rest of your trip.

    1812 days ago
    What a great story. How wonderful that you still have the older generation to share your life with. My parents were both Norwegian - my mother nearly 100% with just a bit of German mixed in, and my father 1/2 Norwegian, 1/2 Irish. Luckily he took on the Irish traits - he always had a sparkle in his eye.

    I will never understand why families keep things secret. That's the way it is in Tom's family - everything is a secret and only shared with a select few. I have to say we were never in the favored group but maybe that was a good thing.

    Enjoy the rest of your trip. I love Colorado - hope to get back there one day!
    1812 days ago
    wonderful emoticon
    1812 days ago
  • no profile photo GINAWMS
    Wonderful! Your story touched my heart.
    1812 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    emoticon (to me this is a contentment emoticon)
    1812 days ago
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