Saturday, June 5, 2010

Driving three Daisies!

     I was the chauffeur in Driving Miss Daisy... but my vehicle held three "Daisys" and my venture wasn't filmed. I took them to Atlanta where we stayed with my aunt (another "Miss Daisy") who is dying. It was both bitter... and sweet. They couldn't seem to keep from sharing their sarcasm and their strong opinions, or from showing their attitudes, or telling me which lane to get in, which turn to make, where to stop, where to get gas, and where to eat... but then, they would apologize soon after they did so (usually after they'd gotten their way). Three "Daisys" on our drive there and back, all with very differing opinions and advice..... I found myself enjoying them and mostly playing along with them... though sometimes just ignoring them (basically because there's no way in this world that I could make three turns in three different directions all at once).

    My Aunt Carol (the one we went to see) looked defeated and beaten. Tired. She seemed to me to accept the fact that she wouldn't live much longer, as if she'd given in to its battle. At first I thought that she had become okay with the fact, but then I changed my mind. Because she couldn't talk about it, and didn't like anybody else to. They (ignoring Aunt Carol not wanting to) talked a lot about death and funerals. These are all very funny ladies, so despite the sadness that loomed heavily in the air, and though they cried, we also laughed. A lot!

    Uncle Bill seemed lost. Defeated too. And he was already mourning his loss, though she hadn't "left" yet. It was obvious. Not because of his words (he didn't talk much), but it showed all over his face and you could tell he wanted to run from what he found himself facing. I've always loved Aunt Carol, but never have been around Uncle Bill very much. I didn't have an opinion about him one way or the other, but I found that I liked him this week. And that I wished somehow that I could help him. I found out that he's a reader (he loves books) so already I automatically felt a bond because I shared his passion. If I didn't have to leave, I could have sat with him and listened to him read or talk about what he'd read for as long as they'd let me.

    But back to the "Daisys." They apologized (it seemed) for everything. They apologized for their feebleness, and how slow they were. They apologized for their wobbleness when they stood up, and how long it took for their legs to work. They apologized for their "old skin" and all of their wrinkles, and the bruises that had blotched them all purple. They apologized for their "old woman" hair and how they couldn't "doo" anything with it. They apologized for their "cantankerous" ways, and for their constant complaining. They apologized for what they ate, and what they couldn't eat anymore. They apologized for not being able to hear, and what they couldn't see. They apologized for their hurt, and how many pills they took.

    I loved them (because they were so blooming precious) and yet felt sorry for them because they seemed so sorry for what age had done to them (that they had no control over and couldn't do anything about anyway). Not one of them seemed comfortable in their aged skin... and every one of them felt the need to apologize to me over and over again about it.... as if they thought that they'd disappointed me somehow. I thought that they were beautiful, each one of them in their "aged-ness"... but I hated how it made them feel and the insecurity that it gave them.

    I thoroughly enjoyed being "the designated driver" to those precious "Daisys." I'm sure they will be going back to bury the fourth "Daisy" before too long, and I'll offer to drive them again. (You could learn and glean lots from such Daisys.) They thanked me for what I'd done, yet I couldn't convince them that I found the pleasure all mine.

    I don't want to live to be old.... where I feel the need to have to apologize for what all "old" has done to me. Or rather! I want to live old and appreciate old graciously!

    Oh.... how I love those daisy ladies!

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