The phone rings. It is Annie following up on how my mother is doing. She works for A Home for Mom. In March I had been looking at Preston Park assisted living as options for my parents. My mom’s health had taken a sharp turn. It was time to think of new realities. Preston Park seemed to be perfect. It was in their and our neighbourhood. I’m sure I did 3 tours of both Preston Park 1 and 2. They both have excellent social programs, attractive physical space, and friendly staff and environment. It was pricey but I felt it was affordable and worth it.

The trouble was I was the only one in the family who was interested. But it was helpful going through the process. I can rest easier knowing that I tried, thought of options and investigated. Still I welcomed Annie’s follow-up call. Someone else cares and is showing interest in helping even though it is part of her job. I know it is our human nature to run away from knowing that our parents are declining. It is the other unspeakable besides dying. I would run, too if I could but I am the oldest. I am retired. I don’t have children. Those things seem to qualify me for many things exempt to those married, with children and jobs.

Annie is glad to hear my mother is doing better, stronger and steadier on her feet. She and my father are still able to stay in their own home. I have arranged for snow shovelling service for them through The Crocus Co-op and lawn mowing through Saskatoon Services for Seniors. So far, so good. Saskatoon Senior Services offers homemaking and housekeeping services, too. My mother feels she can still do those and enjoy doing them. My father can still drive so they can get out to their neighbourhood mall, shop for their groceries and see friends.

I know that December with Christmas is at the doorstep. I will be very happy to have a quiet boring holiday season and winter. Peace and contentment are the gifts I cherish the most. Health and creativity are my on going goals. The snow may fall and the wind may blow. If I have a roof over my head and the furnace to keep me warm, I shall be happy. There’s bread to be baked, soup to be made, all that yarn to knit, quilts to sew and a whole slew of art classes to watch and do.


I’m not a naturally enthusiastic or happy person. I don’t wake up with a song in my heart and dance on my feet. It’s more of a grumble in my throat and a stumble out of bed. Enthusiasm and joy comes slowly as the day unfolds. I didn’t relish heading out in the dark of this morning to swim. It was the memory of past great swims that got me going. Then the rest was easy. The warmth of the water, my weightlessness, the movement of my limbs – the flow. From experience I know that if I do not make the effort to rise above my nature, I would have less of everything – joy, health, etc.