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Old age and dying, as seen by Tim Stafford

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The last two pages of his book

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“Memo to my Father-in-Law”

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   “You sat in our kitchen and, characteristically, got to the point. ‘I read through the whole manuscript,’ you said, ‘and I kept expecting to find out how you are going to take care of me. Did I miss something?’

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For more use the DOOR.

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   “How could I answer that? I said that it seemed pretty clear that you had enough money to stay in your home as long as you could wish, and that we were going to do everything we could to support you and love you and work out the logistics of care in that home. We can’t know the details yet. Just the outline.

   “But your question underscored for me the lesson I have learned from researching this book, from reading about and talking to scores of older people. The lesson is that old age is not a problem to be solved. It is a part of life to be experienced, for the elder and for his family.

   “I started with the problem-solving mentality wanting to know all about the finances and nursing homes and home health care. I wanted to have the answers. Now I know a great deal–much more than I have put into this book–and it does help, but it hasn’t provided answers, not absolute answers.

   “It has instead provided a deeper appreciation and reverence for life past 65. In the years ahead, as you and Ozzie and my mom and dad grow older, we will certainly struggle. How exactly? I don’t know. Yet I face that uncertainty with confidence, because I now know that growing does not stop at 65. Aging is not a problem to be solved. It is a gift from God, full of life and growth and joy for those who have eyes to see. I want to see it with you.”

[As Our Years Increase: Loving, Caring, Preparing For Life past 65 (Harper Paperbacks, 1991. pp. 251-252)]

[We recommend this book.]