Blessings of Aging
Given my excellent role models, I would like to think that, even without two breast cancers, I would be aging with some grace. My maternal grandmother wore her hair in braids (sometimes two, sometimes one long one down her back) right to the end of her life in her mid-80s. Her silver hair was often swept up in a lady-like fashion, but she could let it down/braided and laugh at the contrast with her many wrinkles. She often told me that she looked in the mirror and wondered who was that old lady, but she surely never tried to camouflage her years.
My mother had beautiful silver hair that she attributed to brushing it one hundred strokes every night. She also insisted that Vaseline was the world's best (and cheapest) facial moisturizer, and she took pride in every one of her years. "Honey, I have earned every gray hair and every wrinkle."
As I try to do about everything in life, I fully support each of our decisions to age as we choose. In all honesty, I do wonder sometimes about the 75 year old women who dress as though they were 30, and sometimes are startling when one glimpses their faces (or surely their hands) rather than just the back view. As I said, I think, I hope, I would be okay anyway about aging, but cancer surely has made it a victory. Hurray for 50! Hurray for 60! Keep those years coming!
And as a gift to you all, here is a wonderful essay from The New York Times:
Gray Hair and Silver Linings
I TURNED 50 just the other day, but I got the gift that I most needed nearly two years earlier, from a couple of
strangers whom I never saw again.
I was in a surgeon’s waiting room, about to have a crimson hillock carved from my back. This, I’ve
learned, is one of the rites of aging: Your body starts generating superfluous things that you wish it wouldn’t —
hairs, pounds, moles — and the removal of some is a matter of survival, not vanity. In this instance I had a
baby cancer between my shoulder blades, and it threatened, if unattended, to go from relatively harmless to
Seated across from me were a man and a woman, neither of whom looked a day under 70. I could tell
from their conversation that they’d just met, and that they’d both been in this place and through this drill
many times before. When it came to carcinoma, they were frequent fliers.
“Too much tennis,” the woman said to the man as she pointed to a subtle divot on her neck, where the sun
had done its cruel handiwork.