When you see me sitting quietly, like a sack upon a shelf,
Don’t think I need your chattering. I’m listening to myself.
Hold! Stop! Don’t pity me! Hold! Stop your sympathy!
Understanding if you got it, otherwise I’ll do without it!
When my bones are stiff and aching and my feet won’t climb the stair,
I will only ask one favor: Don’t bring me no rocking chair.
When you see me walking, stumbling, don’t study and get it wrong.
’Cause tired don’t mean lazy and every goodbye ain’t gone.
I’m the same person I was back then, a little less hair, a little less chin,
A lot less lungs and much less wind.
But ain’t I lucky I can still breathe in. — “On Aging” from AND STILL I RISE by Maya Angelou, copyright © 1978 by Maya Angelou. Used by permission of Random House, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved.
Adapted from Five Minute Massage by Robert Thé (Sterling, 1995)
Interlock the fingers of both of your hands. Turn them palm out and stretch your arms in front of you. With your body facing forward, slowly move your interlocked hands, palm out to the right. Take two slow deep breaths. Then, repeat, moving your hands and arms to the left. Now, slowly bring your arms back to the center and relax them.
Gently squeeze the muscles along each arm with your opposite hand. Move from shoulder to wrist on the inside of your arm, remembering to breathe. Then turn your hand facing up and massage the back of your upper and lower arm. Take a deep breath and give each arm a gentle rub as you finish.
For Next Time
1. Complete your mandala about a time or place where you found true beauty.
2. Complete your Five Wishes booklet and make plans to share it with a family member and your medical professional.
Remember to bring your mug, your Journal, and your Art Toolkit [and whatever participants need to bring for lunch].
[Date] Workshop 6: Hindsight, Humor, and Hope
[include details of lunch plans]
Find Out More
Information about end-of-life decision making and care:
- Five Wishes is an easy-to-use legal document for planning how a person wishes to be cared for in case they become seriously ill. It is available in English and 22 other languages. Additional information can be found on the Aging with Dignity website.
- Gawande, Atul, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End (Metropolitan Books, 2014)
- “Being Mortal,” Frontline, PBS, February 10, 2015
- Links to wide array of resources on end-of-life issues can be found on the National Caregivers Library website.
- Inspirational readings:
- Fuller, R. Buckminster, No More Second Hand God (Southern Illinois University Press, 1967)
- Parker, Rebecca Ann, Blessing the World: What Can Save Us Now (Skinner, 2006)