Maybe I am a dowager. I was objecting to being called a senior, or an elder, or a crone, golden oldie, I rather don’t mind woman of an age. No, I don’t fit dowager. Elder. NOT elderly. But an elder. Like a tree. Tall, arms reaching toward the sky, deep roots. Yah, I could do elder. I am an elder. Sounds like I take up the collection on Sunday mornings, and sounds rather male, but I can be an elder that meditates by myself on Sunday mornings and has given birth to 4 babies. Better than crone. Crones wear a black hat, have long noses, and scare little children. Doesn’t work for me.
Senior isn’t so bad. Senior Vice-President, Senior CEO, Senior Psychotherapist, Nancy Ross, Senior as opposed to Nancy Ross, Junior. There isn’t a Nancy Ross, Junior, though it is true all four of my adult children have bits and pieces of me in them. A little disconcerting to witness. Annoying to them to have me point it out.
Obviously I am continuing my search for meaning in life, especially life at my age. Do I rest too much? Do I worry too much? Am I simply too much? I do suspect I long for answers that aren’t available or reachable, or maybe knowable. I have learned I have to answer my own questions. No one else is going to do it. So I rattle on in my search, comforting myself with my own words, expecting my fingers to type the letters on the key board that will give me relief and hope and peace. Give me space too, space to let go of worry and just BE. I endorse just BEING. Until sometimes I judge it. Just BEING is a luxury and it is the luxury of aging. Dowagers can just BE. I don’t know if elders can. I think elders have to share wisdom, lead the crowd sometimes, have answers.
I hope I am up for the job of elder.
My son-in-law called me the matriarch a while ago. Not at all sure how I feel about that. Mostly it just makes the empty space of patriarch that much bigger and louder. I hear shouting: THERE IS NO PATRIARCH and I shudder. It is a long- time, huge, dark, empty hole. Matriarch reminds me again of being one in a world that values two. Sometimes I am an elder that feels lonesome.
Sometimes I am an elder that feels independent, free, and happy. Sometimes I am an elder that likes to write, likes to share loving and healing space with couples who are wanting to be held and want to learn and grow. Sometimes I am an elder who loves to stretch out on the couch with Aimee’s warm body on my legs, read a book and listen to Mahler on the radio, with Tom Allen the host. Elder bliss.