Friday, November 27, 2009

87 and so Thankful

I was honored to spend Thanksgiving with a very energetic just turned 87 year old woman. She was so full of life and energy, so thankful it made me feel ashamed at how blase I had been feeling about the holiday. What right do I have to not be thankful for all the wonderful things I have in my life? Here is this woman who is 87-legally blind, widowed twice, child of the Holocaust, she moved to Seattle from Berlin in 1933 when she was 16 years old-she was more upbeat than me, more in tune with what this holiday is supposed to represent.

She is an amazing woman. She is tiny, maybe 95 pounds and she was bouncing around with my girls having a good time. She was nowhere near what I would expect. She is small and a bit frail looking but she doesn't present herself in a frail or inhibited manner at all. She is so capable, so much more capable than many who are years younger.

I don't know what her secret is, she certainly is in excellent health aside from her eyesight which has been bad all her life, quickly deteriorating to legally blind when she was a young adult. She is active though, and perhaps that is something that helps.

She was an actress as a young woman and now as a retired woman she performs a one woman show about her experiences growing up in Berlin and coming to the United States. She performs it in schools around Seattle as a part of Holocaust education. She doesn't rely on others to do everything for her in her day to day life either. She takes the bus, walks, shops and takes care of her apartment without the assistance of another, beyond the occasional assistance of reading fine print perhaps.

She could very easily sit back with every valid excuse to not do anything other than watch television and let others do everything for her. She could get away with having others doing all the things that are, most likely, the very things that keep her living such a high quality of life.

This year she is particularly thankful, we have made her a Great-grandmother. She is the mother of my stepfather and although we have been sort of related for quite a few years now this is the first time we have actually met. She is a wonderful addition to my and my children's lives, I am thankful for her and the enlightenment she has brought to my life.


Lindsay Townsend said...

Thank you so much, Courtney, for sharing this amazing woman! She sounds a true inspiration.

Linda Banche said...

Goo for her! And may the rest of us have the courage to keep on going so long and so well.

Serena Shay said...

She sounds wonderful, Courtney! Thanks for sharing her with us. :)

Savanna Kougar said...

Courtney, that is an extraordinary blessing to know this lady. My father had a friend in his later life who lived beyond 100 and was the same way.
Bobbi was absolutely amazing.

Francesca Prescott said...

Courtney, thank you for writing about this wonderful lady. People like that are always such an inspiration. My grandmother had that sort of spirit, right up until then end. Your post really moved me.

Lots of love,


Bekki Lynn said...

She sounds truly wonderful and a real light to all who meets her.

Thanks for sharing her with us.