I Want to Grow Old Like Rose

On their wedding day May 31, 2003
Dad and Rose were both in their 70s when they met and married and began their new life together. So I only really knew Rose as an older person. But as I learned to know this delightful lady I would often think, I want to grow old like Rose.

By observing Rose's life I've learned several keys to  vibrant and joyful aging. 

Be open to love
The joy of grandparents
    Often as we age, our world of loved ones shrinks. In this cynical world we live in its easy to view new relationships with suspicion. But Rose took a chance when she received a letter in the mail from Dad asking if she'd like to go out to eat with him "for the purpose of becoming better acquainted."  What a treat it was to see this relationship grow and bloom into love and marriage.  When she 
embraced our father, she also learned to love our family and the Buhler church and community.
In front of their sweet home

Choose people over things
    Rose left her lovely home in the city for life at the rustic ranch when she married Dad. She never acted like this was a sacrifice but it would have been for me. They had talked about a house or apartment in Buhler, but she wanted to be where he was and he still had cattle and chores at the farm. Their home was simple but peaceful and welcoming.

The kids were being ridiculous but they played along.

Be pleasant and positive

    Rose's face would brighten with a lovely smile when she saw you (and, especially, at photos of babies). She got along with everyone. "I think we disagreed about something once, but I don't remember what it was," she would say about her marriage with Dad.  You could count on her for an encouraging word. She was interested in our and our family's lives and was a gracious conversationalist. Years earlier she had chosen a joyful life and it showed. 

Sing hymns and read Scripture

    One of their most endearing habits was to sing a hymn at breakfast. They went right through the hymnbook and Rose would pencil in a star beside the title of that day's song to keep track of their progress. There was never a day that passed without reading Scripture. For many years she would write out a verse along with an application each day. (I've adopted her habit of writing Scripture and love it!). 
As a nursing home resident someone on the staff noticed that she was always reading her Bible and bought her a new one for Christmas. She preferred her old one, of course. There's no doubt where she obtained her strength and her peace. Her faith was the source. 
Dad and Rose sit on the bench at the end of their path
with a delightful group of great-grandchildren

Be brave, go places, do things

    Since Rose's family was spread around the United States and the world, they had some exotic places to go. Together they visited places like Greece, Italy, Ethiopia and Hawaii. They attended grandchildren's graduations and weddings in places like California, Washington or Indiana. Each month they visited a prisoner at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility. Rose joined a traveling autoharp group. 
Most days Dad and Rose would take a walk in the pasture. They walked hand in hand out to a bench where they would take a little break and then return. As the years progressed, sometimes the walks were shorter. After supper (with ice cream for dessert) Dad and Rose usually played a table game. Dad liked Scrabble while Rose enjoyed Rummikub so they alternated days. 

Celebrating Dad's 90th birthday
Early in their marriage they expressed the hope that they would live to be 90 because they were having so much fun together. Both of them had been widowed and knew the fragility of life together. They reached that goal and were blessed with nearly 18 years of marriage. Dad passed away January 19, 2021. Rose  passed away on June 13, 2022. 
    It remains to be seen if I will grow old like Rose. But she has given me a great example to follow. 

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