Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Growing older

I've been re-reading my blogs about my Mother written those years she was with us before she died. Then today a friend came by and talked about her Mother who is experiencing the early part of dementia. My mother taught me a lot, as she has always done, about this path of life. She was not the example I wanted to follow through adulthood, but she is the person whose words and action throughout my childhood, and now, as I am 66 because she and the woman, Granny, who mothered me from the time I was 40 until her death, taught me how to age.

Let me begin by saying, it is not easy to grow old in this country during these times, just as it is not easy to be born and grow up here. This is not the times or the country to be vulnerable, to be participant in a society where individualism, materialism, hierarchy and the size of the paycheck measures a person's worth and where stress is the norm and silence is judged as non-productive. The whole idea of a productive human being already tells the story.

I have found that aging feels as awkward as entering into adolescence. The body, the mind, the feelings are going through a change. Hopefully, I have learned some grace about the change so that I can enter this stage more gracefully and with my head up than I did as a teen.

My environment is also going through the same sort of upheaval of my youth. Everything I believed amounted to a house of cards. The direness of our future was revealed. Here I am at 66, and damn if it weren't all true. Some people call it political -- but the political has become my reality. Since Will and I are Winnemem we are, as the Chief says, the canary along with the salmon, the water, and our belief system. Before others, being at the bottom of the social ladder, we are already experiencing what all others who are steps above will be experiencing.

I hope I have some time to write this blog. I know re-reading my blog about my Mother gave me a perspective which I did not experience while going through the life I recorded. I would not want my thoughts of entering my sixties to be lost to my eighty year old self. My friend Carmen told me to write a letter to my 80 year old self. I think it's time for another one.

1 comment:

  1. I am re-reading blogs about my mother because the producer of West is West playing closing night at the DisOrient Asian American Film Festival shared with me that there will be another film with our help encouraging the writer of the two films beginning with East is East, and that film will be called East is West. The Pakistani family of the father will be coming to the UK because they have heard the father is dying through a distraught message from his second wife, the English woman. He is not dying. It is only the fear of his wife entering into dementia. Her friend overhearing this conversation expressed how sad that was. I remarked, my mother entered into dementia, and it was not sad, really, if we stepped into her world. She was I would say happy for her whole life, thinking everyone she met was family and every day was beautiful, but then we relied on natural medicines and alpha stim and sacro-cranial massage to help her through. The producer was very interested and asked me to share some stories, which I sent off today, and said if she used any part of it she would credit my Momma. That would be so fitting somehow. My Momma is such a "movie star" inside.


"from Outside the Belly" was also known as "TBAsian" from 2008-2010. Thank you for reading.

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. . . following Earth instead (Rakaia River, site of Salmon Ceremony, photo credit Ruth Koenig)


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Eugene, Oregon
I am a citizen of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. I am a Nikkei descendant sansei (third generation);retired teacher, involved in the Winnemem tribal responsibility to Water, Salmon, and our belief that the Sacred is our Teacher. Working locally for human rights and supporting youth leadership.