Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Telling the Truth Tuesday: - being honest with friends

I have a dear dear friend who is 87 years old. Over the past few years she has fallen several times, one time breaking her leg. It was a long, slow recovery. Even before that fall, she had trouble with balance. Now, even more so. Her physical therapist suggested she use a cane or a walker. She refused. Why? "Old people use those things," she said. I get it. When I turned 65 last month and become an official Medicare recipient, I said, "This can't be. Old people are on Medicare." It is a cruel joke on God's part, I think, that we get chronologically older, but don't feel old inside.

I said to my friend, "You may get mad at me for saying this, but I can't not say it. I think you should think about the consequences of not using a cane or a walker. If you fall because of your lack of balance, you could break something again and the recovery will be long and difficult once again. Versus overcoming the negative image of being an older person who must use a device to keep balance. Which is worse?"

Denial is a powerful emotion. It keeps us from having to deal with feelings we don't want to feel. Until we can no longer deny them and must face the truth. I hope my friend is able to do that and keep herself safe. I hope I am able to keep myself from denying the realities as my body ages. My goal in this next phase of my life is to accept what is with grace and dignity and continue to do the things I love for as long as I can.

How about you?


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You have to admire her attitude that she doesn't think she's old. But she does need to consider her health. She could fall and do even more damage than break a bone.
I can finally admit - I'm getting older and yes, my hair is really getting grey, There, I said it!

Optimistic Existentialist said...

How did she react when you said this? I think you did the right thing. We were faced with something similar with my grandfather during the past couple of years of his life when we had to tell him that he really shouldn't drive anymore due to safety reasons. Even a family friend who was a police officer told us to have a talk with him! Papaw was hearing none of if though! lol.

Karen Walker said...

Ah, Alex, bet you look fabulous with a little grey. Look at George Clooney and Cary Grant. Men age beautifully.
Keith, it is the hardest thing we humans do, I think, is come to terms with aging. I have been afraid to call my friend - not sure how she felt about it.

Robin said...

I think the worst thing that happens (young or old) is when we allow fear of what might happen stop us from doing something we love. Or even trying something new. FEAR is the Great Deceiver (among other things). In this case, your friend Fears that using a cane will suddenly make her old. It will change how others see her or how she sees herself. What she isn't seeing is how much people admire older people who still get out there and do what they love. Even if they need a cane, walker, or wheelchair. The fact that their spirit is strong even when their body is a bit less than willing is a testament to their fortitude. Who doesn't admire that?

L. Diane Wolfe said...

It's hard to admit there things you just can't do anymore. I hope that your friend takes your advice.

Karen Walker said...

Robin, yes, that's a huge part of it.
Diane, so do I, but it's out of my control.

Mason Canyon said...

It is hard for us to say we can't do things we use to do. You're right, our bodies tell us we're older and can't do as we once did while our insides are screaming YES I CAN! I hope your friend takes your advice. Maybe if someone came up with a nifty looking cane she could start a new fashion trend. Wishing her the best.

mooderino said...

I plan to take advantage of anything that will help me do what i want to do as I get older. What other people think (or what I think they think) shouldn't be that important, I feel.

Moody Writing

Suze said...

I am one with you in that goal, Karen. It is solid to me. All things should, whenever and wherever possible, be met with grace, dignity and love.

I hope your friend will be okay.

Arlee Bird said...

This is so very timely for me. I've been dealing with exactly these same issues with my family over the past few days. My mother and siblings have always had a problem with discussing things without getting upset or being open to say things that need to be said in order to avoid confrontation. It's tough for me 2000 miles away since I get all of their versions and I'm not sure which ones are closest to the truth.

I think it's best to bring things in the open and then calmly discuss them with rationality.

I'll be giving you a mention tomorrow on Tossing It Out. You've provided me an inspiration for the summer.

An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out

Candorly Candice said...

So true, I was almost scared to read this post. j/k but, I can definitely relate. Thank you for your honesty. Please check me out when you get a moment at www.candorlycandice.com

Cathy Kennedy said...

This all makes sense. I am 52 and am very healthy, but I do see limitations. It's just the way things are, since the fall of mankind in the Garden of Eden. Telling the brain that you're getting old is a hard thing to do. I know, I certainly don't want to tell mine that. So, I can only imagine what a 80 or 90 year old must be facing, like my in-laws. I like the way you worded things for your friend, though. Hopefully, she won't see the cane as evil, but a necessity for making her life more enjoyable. Good post! It's nice to meet you!