14 Elul 5774
By Dr. Stacy Nagel, TBS Sisterhood President
On the Nature of Milestones
This past May, I celebrated a milestone birthday, and just like Sally O’Malley from “Saturday Night Live”, I can still kick and stretch and kick!
The problem? For the past few months, I seem to be forgetting things. I’ll forget where I put my keys. I’ll be talking about that actor on “Castle” and forget his name (it’s Nathan Fillion). I can’t remember what I had on my sandwich yesterday. (I think it was some kind of tomato).
My lack of remembrance had me worried so I checked in with my doctor. She concluded that nothing was physically wrong and stated that I am a “woman of THAT age” and as a busy wife, mother, and volunteer in multiple organizations, I am juggling too many plates at the same time. (This is doctor code for “you are SELECTIVELY remembering”.)
Since we all know it’s best to get a second opinion, I then asked a real expert on the subject — my mother, Gloria Kopf.
Three years ago on my birthday, my mother had a stroke. Luckily, it was mild and she has had no physical difficulties. However, she has forgotten tasks that require higher-level cognitive functioning. My mom can’t remember how to balance a checkbook, do her crossword puzzles, and how to play her beloved Mah Jongg. But, here’s what this extraordinary, strong woman told me:
“You can look up the details on the internet. You can write down the important items and dates. You can blog, scrapbook, write letters to help you remember and to help others remember you. But don’t worry, you won’t forget how the most significant times in your life made you FEEL.”
My mom, as always, is absolutely right. I may not remember who sang that sappy song “Feelings” (it was Morris Albert), but I have strong memories of how happy I felt on my wedding day and how I still feel that way each night when Mark walks into the home we’ve built together. I can remember vividly what it felt like to hold each of my daughters for the first time or to rock them to sleep. I remember how exhilarated and proud I was and still am of my family’s many accomplishments. I remember how it felt to hold my father’s hand in the hospital and how I felt when he finally could come home. I remember seventeen years of smiles as Girl Scouts showed me their loose teeth, new hairdos, and more recently driver’s licenses! And I remember how it good it feels each time I meet and laugh with my Sisters at TBS.
The details? I’ll look them up. I’ll write them down. I’ll blog and scrapbook. But I can still feel.
And, as someone incredible once said “people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” (It was Maya Angelou.) So, during these upcoming High Holy Days, I am going to continue to work on making others feel welcome, important, and valued.
Even if I forget where I parked the car after services.