Human to human we all need to understand, empathize and support the choices of others, however painful. Admittedly, he killed himself to find peace. Would that he chose to publicly share his anguish allowing us to release him with a loving, understanding final farewell.
The latest bizarre example of age prejudice— AGEISM—surfaced at JFK when I was passing through security. The guards told me that I didn't have to take off my boots because I was a senior. While I was delighted not to have to go through the machinations of removing them, it hit me that it was, in fact, not a benefit, but an insult
Even with people with whom we are close, there are times when a phrase, a judgement, or even a look can hurt their feelings. Perhaps we hit a nerve, pushed one of their "buttons" or been unknowingly insensitive or hurtful.
We've all experienced that wonderful feeling when we are in the presence of people and places that somehow make us feel like we belong. As children, our parents provide a secure, loving environment. They help, guide and hug us through whatever challenges life delivers. Their support provides the security and guidance that enables us to thrive as we ourselves grow into maturity.
For as long as I can remember, meals would always include a starch or a grain, Breakfast would be cereal—hot or cold—plus bread -- white or whole grain. Lunch would usually be a sandwich, hamburger, hot dogs or pizza and dinner would have rice or pasta in one of its many forms—macaroni, spaghetti, spirals, etc. What was a meal without bread or a starch?
Seemingly out of the blue, we are bombarded with the perils of eating gluten.
I never imagined that I would be viewed as a celebrity. I still can hardly believe it when people see me in public and actually scream, “Oh my God. It's Hattie!” As often as not, they hug and kiss me, tell me they love me and ask if I would take a picture with them. And this isn't a rare occurrence. A day doesn't pass without several people recognizing me, and excitedly expressing how thrilled they are to see a “real celebrity” in the flesh.
For years I would look at people, places and things, always finding fault. I would zero in on details that I believed should be different and wondered why they didn't correspond to what I believed was the “right” way. We often are told that age brings wisdom. Of course, with my obsession for being youthful, wisdom felt like a booby prize. Now, happily, that is no longer the case. It occurred to me that my style of seeing that things that should be done “my way” was robbing me of the opportunity to view life through the eyes of others.
I was watching CBS News this morning when they announced that experiments with blood transfusions was reversing aging in mice. Living here in peaceful, protected Anguilla, I watch TV daily to keep up with what's happening in the world. No longer shocked at the news of war, tornadoes, global”warming”, this came a pleasant surprise.
Now, at 77, looking back over my life, I remember times in which I felt that I could not go on. Most people view me as one of the happiest people they've ever known. They even dubbed me “Happy Hattie!” Yes, of course I've been happy.... gloriously so. But there's the flip side, depression. I suffer from that. It takes a lot to reveal that to you, but it's only fair to be open and truthful with my readers.
It was decades ago that I became involved (read, obsessed) with dangerous chemicals in our food. I was one of the first people to call attention to the growing use of pesticides... and this was in the sixties! I headed up an Organic Food co-op called “The Greenhouse” composed of community-minded people from the the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Counted among our members were John Lennon, Yoko Ono and Gwen Verdon who joined me in my concern about the poisoning of our food supply.