As Independent as They Come

by Elva Eliason

Phyllis was as independent as they come. Well into her nineties she was never happier than when she was out bouncing along on her ride-on lawn mower taking great pride in maintaining her own yard. She loved that mower and the sense of power it gave her.

She lived just a “country road” away from her church so she drove herself to church each Sunday and here and there for local errands. She was offended if you offered to take her somewhere. “I have a car!” she would say with a mixture of annoyance and pride that you weren’t aware that she could take care of herself.

But the day came when there were too many issues for her to take care of the way she was used to doing, and she gave up the mower and the car and reluctantly left her home for a retirement center apartment. She adjusted and she found ways there to help out some of the other residents so she felt that her life still had meaning, but it never made up for the joy of living in a home full of memories of a beloved husband and family. Not long after moving to the Center, she left our world.

With the loss of her mother still fresh in her mind, Phyllis’ daughter had an immediate reaction to hearing the Villages story: “I wonder now how much longer and how much happier my mother’s life would have been if the Villages’ type of support had been there for her and she could have stayed in her home?”  Phyllis’ family will never know the answer to that question.



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