Thursday, August 21, 2008


I heard the story today of an eighty year old woman who was determined to learn how to work a computer. She joined a class being given for free at the local senior center. She would drive herself there alone, twice a week but was having a very hard time understanding it all. The boy giving the classes told her not to worry, she could start over as many times as she needed. The rest of the class advanced on but still she was struggling to learn. She was going through the basic class for the third time when her first disaster struck her.

They took away her driver's license and she had no way to get to the center. The boy teaching the class, offered to come and get her but she said no. He could tell she was embarrassed by the offer. She was fighting to stay independent. Finally she started paying the young man next door, to take her. He charged her way too much and she was under a strain to come up with the money but she managed. He was not very dependable and half the time he was late getting her there. But still she somehow, hung on. He finally just quit taking her and she was stuck without a way to go, even to get her groceries. She fought to get her licence back and won. Now, she was independent again and was really starting to catch on to the computer. She was now into the second stage of the course and really enjoying it.

Then one week she didn't show up at all. The boy got a call after ten at night and he knew something was wrong because his family and friends knew to not call after ten at night. It was his pupil and she just wanted to tell him, she wouldn't be in anymore. Her heart was giving her problems and although the Doctor gave her medicine, it wasn't working. She quit coming to the classes. He missed her.

In a couple of weeks he was sitting in the library and studying when he noticed a woman struggling to type a letter. He asked if he could help and she said, "Yes, please". His heart sank when he saw what she wanted him to type. It was an Eulogy to his pupil and old friend. She had died a few days ago. As he read the Eulogy which as it turned out, was written by her sister, the woman he was helping,,,he began to realize something. It wasn't mastering the computer that was so important to her, it was staying involved. She didn't want to be left behind. Learning the computer was her way of saying, I am still here and I still care about living. She was a fighter. I hope, like her, I never throw in the towel. I think I'm a fighter or at least I have been so far. There have been times when I have gone into survival mode to get through but I'm still here. (cue the Rocky theme song)

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Dylan Thomas


Me said...

I am always inspired by elderly people who want to try new things. Like Harmina the 93-year-old who was in my Bible study group this past year. She came to a book signing this summer just because she had never experienced one.

Nola said...

How absolutely wonderful; that's how I want to be, right up until they slam the lid on my coffin!

Michelle said...

Great story! I hope I'm like that, too!

Donna said...

Wonderful story sweetheart...makes one, think.....hughugs

Lynilu said...

Love the story. I've told my kids that I want to continue to experience life as fully as I can, as long as I can. That story says it so well.

StitchinByTheLake said...

I'll soon be 62 and I've wondered often how I'm going to be when another 10 or 15 years pass. I work hard to stay busy, learning new computer skills and taking quilting classes, taking one Bible study and leading another. I think the key to keeping on and enjoying your time is to find joy in the little things. I laugh when I see children riding bicycles and remember when I did that, too. I'm not sad that I can't anymore, although it would be fun, but I do feel joy to watch others. I want laugh lines, not frown lines. blessings, marlene

dreams and decor said...

A testimony to the human spirit! I really admire elderly people who stay involved, even though they may be fighting pain and suffering! (I'm really enjoying your blog, which I found via Nola at Alamo-North!) Patti

Mrs. Hatten said...

Your post reminds me of one of my favorite poems: "How Did You Die" by Edmund Vance Cooke. It reads,

Did you tackle that trouble that came your way
With a resolute heart and cheerful?
Or hide your face from the light of day
With a craven soul and fearful?
Oh, a trouble’s a ton, or a trouble’s an ounce,
Or a trouble is what you make it.
And it isn’t the fact that you’re hurt that counts,
But only how did you take it?

You are beaten to earth? Well, well, what’s that?
Come up with a smiling face.
It’s nothing against you to fall down flat,
But to lie there -- that’s disgrace.
The harder you’re thrown, why the higher you bounce;
Be proud of your blackened eye!
It isn’t the fact that you’re licked that counts;
It’s how did you fight and why?

And though you be done to death, what then?
If you battled the best you could;
If you played your part in the world of men,
Why, the Critic will call it good.
Death comes with a crawl, or comes with a pounce,
And whether he’s slow or spry,
It isn’t the fact that you’re dead that counts,
But only, how did you die?

I'm fiesty by nature and I'd like to think that I would put up my dukes to death, but after seeing my father, grandmothers, and other family members battle Cancer I'm inclined to think that most people fight as long as they can until they finally submit because they are tired of the battle. I love the fact that God keeps our future a secret from us and that through the journey we handle situations as the arise; otherwise, I think many people would just give up and wouldn't fight at all. In this case, I cherish ignorance.

Eve said...

Patti, welcome. I visit Nola a lot. She has a great blog. I'll have to check your out.

mrs hatten...That is a great poem. I have never read it but I do think it fits my thoughts and how I feel. I know I am a fighter when it comes to my health. I would hope I would be if it came to being left alone. The last one may be the harder battle.

CurtissAnn said...

What a great post. I have to really encourage myself to stay in the fight for keeping an active life. I was reading on temperments the other day; I am intense and highly sensitive, but I did not get much of a persistent trait. Still, like you say, I'm still here. Generally when I get overwhelmed, I go take a nap. ha, ha.

My mother learned the computer in her seventies. She can work her VCR , and I still can't.

日月神教-任我行 said...