Tenacious Creativity and Connection

March 2017

Rebecca’s 95 year-old aunt Joan’s tenacious creativity has inspired yet another newsletter.  A couple of years ago, we wrote about her blog,Joan’s Stones, which she started at the age of 90 to keep her creativity alive when she was becoming less mobile (to see that newsletter click here).  Joan’s “stones” were posts in which she responded with a poem to photographs she’d take on her daily walks.
 
Because over the last year or so she could only walk a few hundred feet at a time, it was getting harder and harder to find something new and different in the same stretch of sidewalk.  Somehow, though, she still managed to capture interesting subject matter and write a little something to go with it. 
 
Unfortunately, last Tuesday, Joan was rushed to the ER for a cough from which she couldn’t catch her breath. We discovered she’d also had a mini-stroke which was interfering with her ability to swallow, so she couldn’t eat.  She was deteriorating very quickly. 
 
For obvious reasons, Joan couldn’t do any of blogging. Although she could barely speak, she could still follow what was going on around her.  One of the things that was comforting her was getting emails and short videos from family members which her daughter was reading and showing her. 
 
Several people who were missing her “Stone” posts simultaneously sent her photos that seemed to be calling for one of her poems. Rebecca forwarded the one above with the suggestion that it looked like some kind of bird. Even though Joan could could barely’ speak, she could write and immediately whipped out the following:
 
Some kind of bird
With some magical shower,
Blesses us daily
And keeps us empowered!
 
The next day, her friend Michael sent Joan a photo of the flowers she had brought her during her visit to the hospital.  At first Joan was still fuzzy and struggled to come up with a poem, but then she woke up in the middle of the night with a limerick clear in her mind.  
 
Now, almost a week later, Joan has made a complete turnaround. She is sitting up and able to speak.  She is back on her Ipad (at 95!). She’s is not entirely sure why or how she made it through, but now that she is talking, she said she was again struck by a question which she has yet to answer for herself.  The question hits her each time she loses the ability to do something which she used to enjoy; e.g., sailing, dancing, or, as seemed to be the case a week ago, blogging.  
 
“If who you are is what you do, then who are you when you don’t do?!”
 
We leave you with that thought.  If you have an answer for Joan feel free to share it here on our Facebook page or post something on her blog!.  In addition, in keeping with our commitment to share more resources with you, we provide you with a download on gratitude and attending to the good (click here or on the image below).  For our part, we are grateful that, just for today, our loved ones are safe and healthy. 
 
Positively yours, Rebecca and Gioia
Art Activity
Take a photo with your smart phone (if you have one, if not, get someone who does and have them take–that’s what Joan would do!). Send it to someone and have them write a poem in response.  Or reverse the order and tell someone to send you a photo and then you respond 
to it with a poem.