When I read Ms. Brody’s article Life’s Graying Edge, about appreciating life as we age, I once again thought about Mom and Dad.
I tell my father all the time that he gave me the greatest gift a person could give: he lived long enough for me to see how magnificent he truly is. My dad was a disciplinarian when I was growing up. He came from a strong German family, where children were seen and not heard.
Now I understand how he survived life’s tragedies as a holocaust survivor, displaced from his home at the age of 21, and struggled to get his parents and grandparents out of Germany. He traveled to foreign lands, met the love of his life, had children, came to the United States, and made a wonderful and protective life for all of us.
This is a man who taught us not to look back. He has always looked forward and never wavered. He is going to be 97 years old. My Mom, who is 91 years old and now has dementia, told me that never a day goes by when they awake in the morning that he doesn’t tell her how beautiful she is. I find them holding hands and a kiss, in the most affectionate way. He would say, “Look forward to the good, don’t dwell on the old stuff, it is physically or mentally unhealthy.” That’s how he lived — and still lives — his life.
He told me once, I think he was around 87 years old, that maybe he has mellowed a bit because he was a little harsh to me when I was young. I was surprised, but he let me know one is never too old to change what one wants to change.
When I thought about working on this new business project, I was encouraged by many people, my husband in particular. But my Dad said “go for it, do what you love.” He retired at the age of 90, after starting a new business when he was 86.
Thank you, Ms. Brody, for your wise words. I only hope that I can live as full a life as my parents.