One of the benefits of sporting a roadmap of wrinkles, carting around a bone bag of stiff joints, and having a fond memory of a thick head of hair, is knowing that along the way I may have grown a brain—and a more empathetic brain at that. And while the physical features and physiologies of youth are nice, I’ve come to believe it’s the awareness of the soul, the kindness, the selfless deed, and generous nature that will in the end keep me (keep us) young. My body may go south, but the heart and head can still hasten me forward (as long as I remember where I put my truck keys and how to shift the gears).
This past year has been especially illuminating and also challenging. I’m aging, my siblings are aging, my mom is aging. And though life goes on, the gentle and not-so-gentle reminders of mortality become more prescient each year.
This year my mother sustained a fall, and through sheer pluck and hard work, she has made remarkable strides toward her recovery and well-being. It has not been easy. But we have to laugh, for when we tell her she’s amazing, she grows quiet and moves onto the next subject as if never hearing a word we’ve said. While my mom is not one to talk about herself nor does she wish to be fussed over, I am especially grateful for two things: her spirit and the devotion of her friends and neighbors.
I live a coast away, and knowing that an angel brigade helps my mom is a comforting balm for the soul. I’ve been to see her and have another trip planned, but because my siblings and I can’t be there all the time, the people who are there readily in her daily life are the true unsung heroes of my heart. They say it’s nothing and that they’re happy to do it, but I’m here to tell you it’s very much something.
I’d like to thank (and give a big written-word hug to) the everyday heroes who help, who check in, who show up when a friend is in need, especially when lack of mobility or access apply. The ride to the doctor’s appointment or church, the picking up of groceries, and the visitations are indeed heroic actions that elevate and comfort the treasured souls in our lives. Selfless actions may go unmentioned, but their uplifting, life-affirming impact speaks volumes. May my gratitude always be evident and forthcoming for you everyday heroes, bettering lives you likely have no idea you’re touching, and always in a meaningful, generous, profound and quiet way.