The Ides of March

Today is the 15th of March – the Ides of March. It’s a Roman day of religious observances, but perhaps best known as the day of Julius Caesar’s assassination, in 44 BC.

It’s important to me for another reason - my mother’s birthday. She is far from my home in California, living in the south of England, in her eighties, and dealing with the beginning of Alzheimer’s. Fortunately for all of us, the effects so far are minor – a certain forgetfulness, and more repetition in her conversation than one might wish for. But most of the time she remains clear of mind, and pleased to hear from her scattered offspring and myriad descendants.

Eid_MarIn my sixtieth year, I suppose it’s salutary to recall one’s mortality, and to be grateful for a degree of lucidity and residual energy and enthusiasm for life. My conversations with my mother now seem to hinge on gratitude, and a recollection of the simple pleasures of a walk, time spent reading, and the family gossip. The big lesson for me, is to recall with gratitude, the many blessings of a lengthening and varied life.

There is no end to the struggle, until at last there is an end, but we are humanized by our efforts to understand, to empathize, and to continue to grow through the constant noise of daily life. Life is hard, especially as our faculties and energies dim, but our response is always our choice, and a grateful aspect never goes out of style.

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