They say that moving house is one of the most stressful things you can do in life. My sister and I have been in New Jersey for the past two weeks helping my father with the triage of his life’s possessions, furniture and memories. Packing up after 26 years in the same apartment means shifting through mountains of paper, boxes of photographs, cupboards full of things you put away and forgot about; not to mention the stuff you put in temporary storage and never looked at again. And yet my father, who is 93, has just gone through this ordeal with good grace and seemingly boundless energy.
Though he is blessed with excellent health, and has a mind that is still clear and sharp, it is his general attitude to life, which makes all the difference. When my mother passed away two years ago, we were understandably worried that he would quickly deteriorate. It was soon clear that we had little to worry about. Just a few months later our father was planning his trips to visit us in Europe, taking care of his financial affairs, and meeting friends and family for lunch and dinner dates.
Any residual fears were put to rest the day I received an email asking me if I would be interested in a series of DVDs he had subscribed to which were classes in everything from Economic Anthropology to the Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin!
Daddy has always had a zest for life and an interest in learning. He keeps up with current affairs and we still have heated political discussions (he wants to impeach “that orange fool in the White House!”). Most of all he looks forward to the days ahead, instead of living in the past. Though he misses my mother dreadfully, and speaks about her everyday, he is busy making plans for this summer.
As he said just this morning: “I hope I can last for at least another decade, because you know Tina, Life is Beautiful!”