Transitions With Jean Blog

Mom inspires me to keep on living

August 2, 2020

    Weirdness-time. That is what I am going to call the last few months. Since the middle of March, our world has been flipped upside down, then turned sideways, and then bounced around a few times. We are unsure of which way is up, right?

   For me, summer is normally a jam-packed season of visits to friends and family, volunteering, social events, go, go, go. There is always so much to do that my TV is on hiatus for months. Not this year. Now, I find myself staying home and watching movies. Last week, I was watching a Harry Potter movie. Harry was in school and gazing into an enchanted mirror that let him see what might have been; the future as he would dream it to be. He couldn’t walk away from it. When he was caught by the headmaster, Harry was admonished with: “It doesn’t do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” I actually paused the TV, jumped up, and got a pen to write that down.

   “It doesn’t do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”

   We can spend this weirdness-time dreaming of the past and holding tightly to what used to be. We can dream of the future as it could have been, should have been, would have been, if only we didn’t have a pandemic and social unrest. When we do that, we get nowhere but lost in our dreams. Instead, we can choose to keep living: living by connecting with others; living by lifting up others; living by celebrating the beauties in life. We can keep creating and fulfilling our dreams.

   Sometimes, folks have criticized me for being “Miss Merry Sunshine.” I try to always look at the bright side of things and it is annoying to some people. Yes, more than once, I have been caught laughing at a funeral when we were sharing touching stories of someone that we miss dearly.

   It is in my DNA. Blame it on my mom. She finds the sunny side of everything. Currently, Mom is living in a senior community. We haven’t been able to hug her since March. Dang! She has eight kids, and oodles of grandkids and great grandkids, but hasn’t had one hug. Does she let it get her down? Heck no!

   Mom is busy keeping on with life. She doesn’t spend all her time talking about what was, nor is she waiting for tomorrow to come. She is enjoying today. And she does it with determination.

   She connects with each of her caregivers. She laughs watching the wildlife out her windows. She enjoys having her kids come over, wave, and fill her bird feeders. She calls and texts her family and friends. Is it the same as being in-person? Absolutely not, but it is what we have right now, so she carries on.

   Thanks, Mom, for showing us how it is done. You make us stronger by your example. Because of you, we won’t forget to live.

Jean Long Manteufel, senior move manager and CEO of Long’s Senior Transitions in Appleton, writes a column on the first Sunday of each month about life changes associated with aging. She can be reached at 920-734-3260 or

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