Tuesday, November 26, 2013

"Such is life!"

Life is fragile.

One day you are enjoying your privacy in your big two story house getting your own tea and bossing around your cleaning lady and the next day you have an accident, spend the night in a hospital and consequently have 100 of your closest relatives worrying and knowing what’s best for you.

“Such is life!” my father would say.

When Adele married Dad at the ripe age of 54 years old, having never been married before or had children, she inherited all of us whether she agreed to it or not. My siblings and cousins, aunts and uncles, were all very pleased with Dad’s choice of a new wife. She kept him happy and even and tethered. Something every one of us Shaheens seems to need I might add.

Someone solid to bounce off of. Someone kind to put up with us. Someone with an internal compass to keep us on track. We are an unruly tribe.

She is all those things and independent to boot, coming from solid Irish Canadian stock. Having been raised by the nuns in the French province of Montreal. Liking her tea and rolls just so at a certain time of day and reading her paper from cover to cover without interruption. I’m not sure she was ready for a rambunctious family such as ours. Or the outpouring of concern when she needed some medical attention and “help” (God forbid!).

After spending four days with her I am in awe of her 92 years of wisdom, strength and fortitude. Driving home from our visit, I had 6 plus hours to contemplate what it might be like to be in her shoes and wonder why everyone is making such a fuss about her living alone and carrying on her daily life.

“Why is everyone asking me how I am? Eh?”

When I’m 92 I want to be just like her.

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