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Aging, memory, reality, death

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  • elaine upton
    Dear anthroposophy list, Do any of you have any sources or wisdom on the questions of aging, memory loss, sense of reality, and approach to death? I ask this
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 9, 2000
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      Dear anthroposophy list,
      Do any of you have any sources or wisdom on the questions of aging, memory
      loss, sense of reality, and approach to death?

      I ask this as i watch my parents aging, losing memory, losing ordinary sense
      of reality, and in the case of my partner's parent, approaching death, it
      seems (approaching with what seems to me like fear and denial).

      I notice that when i am with my parents, i look at them with tenderness, as
      they become more childlike and helpless. I also have to swallow some
      sadness, that they are so changed, and i foolishly want them to remain as
      they were in younger years (oh, that one is foolish and complicated, since
      in younger years i did not always like them...funny).

      But more, i find that my sense of reality changes, alongside the changes
      they undergo. I look at them, with compassion, i believe, but from a
      distance (at times). And i see that their bodies are frail and almost
      fading. Their reality is not in the physical body. I remember the exercise
      Steiner gave (somewhere, in the karma lectures, i believe) to imagine a
      person with no limbs, no this , no that, until finally there is no physical
      body, and then you will see the being, and their karma. I see my parents'
      bodies fading, and their memories and sense of reality (ordinary reality of
      time, names, etc.) fades, and i think i am in an "unreal" world when i am
      with them. What used to matter not only no longer matters, but doesn't even
      seem to exist anymore. Wow!
      Then, i look around and ask: what matters? What is real?

      Alzheimer's Disease (maybe my parents have this): that one can really cause
      one to question reality, what is real? What matters?

      An exercise given: to separate the essential from the unessential, the
      transitory from the eternal...That one seems especially important for me
      now.

      I will appreciate the sharing of any wisdom on this subject of aging, memory
      loss, dying, sense of reality, what is essential and enduring.

      in thanksgiving,
      elaine


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