A terrible, but beautiful heart.
September 17, 2010 3:36 PM   Subscribe

Phyllis Greene, who is in hospice care in Ohio, talks about why she decided to start a blog at the age of 90 and how technology has brought a new dimension to her life.
posted by gman (26 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite
Yay! Older people are so underrepresented on the web, so it's always nice to find a good blog with an older perspective. And Ms. Greene is quite a good writer.
posted by ocherdraco at 3:43 PM on September 17, 2010 [3 favorites]

Her positive attitude and great sense of humour really touched me.

"After a miserable month of retching and nausea that made me moan like the tennis Williams sisters' serving, my doctor could not prescribe for me, without actually seeing me."
posted by gman at 3:46 PM on September 17, 2010

She's lovely, inside and out. Go Columbus!
posted by HopperFan at 3:49 PM on September 17, 2010

I'm getting off her lawn, pre-emptively.
posted by chavenet at 4:01 PM on September 17, 2010

She's a lovely writer. Why on earth is there a mature content warning? Or is that just blogspot's idea of a joke?
posted by Think_Long at 4:07 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

I just love this.
posted by hermitosis at 4:23 PM on September 17, 2010

This is extremely poignant:

I thought-- and I still do-- that the better informed a citizenry, the better the country would become.

Wrong! wrong!

Now, I am ready to throw in the towel. Everyone has what they consider an informed position, and everyone feels a need to write about it. There are paid pundits and self-promoting folks who use Jack Cafferty, for instance, to get their two-cent worth of "wisdom" out to the public.

Have a certain point of view, and you will find a newspaper, a radio station, a news channel to give you access... and validity and visibility. We are drowning in words. (Believe me, I love words, I'm a writer.) Just don't use the words foolishly; use them so they are useful , not full of hot air.

I was not going to blog today, but this morning, as I tried to digest the Dispatch and the New York Times, I had my a -ha moment. I just don't give a damn. It seems incredible but no one is credible anymore.

I may spend my days idly watching soap operas, eating boxes of bon-bons as the world turns.

Would that people have her age could be so in touch and observant.
posted by T.D. Strange at 4:29 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

The dark silhouette of leaf less branches outside my windows could be beautiful... if they were seen against a bright blue sky. But this is Ohio, and the sky is grey, and the wind is strong. If a last leaf might still have been clinging to the limb, it is far, far away now.

I have been thinking about last leaves for a long time. My friend, Lucile Kirk, once told me, over lunch, that she didn't want to be the last leaf on the tree. That was a few years ago, and now she has left us and, as in winter's past, so have Lois and Harry and Bob and Artie and Leonard and Evelyn. If you are ninety as I am, you can substitute your own list of missing friends.

We were once part of a group of seven couples, who met regularly on Saturday night. Now there are two of us, Artie's widow, Jackie, and I.

Not so long ago, I was a class mate of five or six local members of the CSG class of 1937, who met regularly for lunch. Now, there is Caroline Davis and I. We talk on the phone, and we share many intimacies because we have the trust that comes with an eighty year friendship.

At Wellesley, we were a compatible group of young women, who ate at the same table together for three years. (Yes, we had round tables, and table cloths and waitresses!) Now, Alice and I reach out to each other from Boston to Columbus, and she will say, when we have the "last leaf" conversation, "You remember my friend Muriel, from kindergarten" and I do, even though we have never met. I just know she is still on Alice's branch.

It was just a year ago that I saw my wonderful brother, Al, for the last time. That is hard to bear.

It happens, this time and change. I write this, today, not because I am mourning those who are gone, because, of course, I am. But I am celebrating those who remain, and the newer, younger people who have become dear to me.

And sometime, sometime, spring will come.

posted by Avenger at 4:30 PM on September 17, 2010 [18 favorites]

Stupid Metafilter making me cry on the brownline.
posted by Uncle at 4:38 PM on September 17, 2010

This is a gem. She's from my city, that's so cool!
posted by Solon and Thanks at 4:41 PM on September 17, 2010

I grew up knowing of Phyllis and her family, through my parents; how lovely to see her blog get such recognition. I love her writing and her spirit.
posted by bluestocking at 5:43 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Y'know, people say "I've got something in my eye" and such... but man... this is one of the very few things on MetaFilter that has actually made me tear up. She talks about being blessed and I certainly feel blessed just to be able to see that interview and read her blog. Man. The internet is a pretty awesome thing.
posted by sonika at 6:04 PM on September 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

As trivial as the day-to-day content on Facebook or various blogs can be (setting aside their casualness with your privacy as well), I'm close to people who are bedbound and it is astonishing to think what a difference those media have done for them. As little as 20 years ago, they would have just disappeared, unable to keep up social relationships with most of their friends and family who were working, too incapacitated to maintain correspondence in handwritten form. To someone in that position, a status message and a comment on it from a friend mean more than most people are able to appreciate.
posted by el_lupino at 6:14 PM on September 17, 2010 [4 favorites]

How wonderful this woman is!

After utterly failing to get my grandmother (b. 1904) and my mother (b. 1930, both gone now) even slightly interested in the internet, I'm utterly amazed at Phyllis' proficiency. I wonder how different the world will be when the old are generally able to take advantage of technology.
posted by sensate at 6:27 PM on September 17, 2010

wow, i'm motivated, i'll help my 95 year old father-in-law with a blog, as he never learned even how to use a typewriter. Plenty of over-the-hill content here as he is quite outspoken and has a loud point of view.
posted by tustinrick at 6:49 PM on September 17, 2010

This is fabulous. Many thanks for sharing.
posted by maxwelton at 7:48 PM on September 17, 2010

Instant fan here. Subscribing.
posted by sicjoy at 7:52 PM on September 17, 2010

I'm bawling. I miss my grandpa so much. Only one significant death in my life means so many more to come, and it's intractably horrifying.

I'm so glad Phyllis is sharing her wonderful self with so many of us, which is wise, and kind. I imagine it's not the easiest way to cope.

I know the melancholy fading beauty of life's end is important to accept, but I hope I prepare for it with a full balanced measure of exuberant youthful beauty.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:17 PM on September 17, 2010

Hope this isn't fake. Seems like we've seen lots of "fake old people" blogs around.
posted by delmoi at 10:56 PM on September 17, 2010

What a beautiful, inspiring woman.

And just as an aside, summer days in Ohio really are insufferable. I miss my grampaw!

Thanks very much for posting this.
posted by deep thought sunstar at 11:00 PM on September 17, 2010

I'm bawling. I miss my grandpa so much. Only one significant death in my life means so many more to come, and it's intractably horrifying.
posted by The Lady is a designer at 2:30 AM on September 18, 2010

delmoi: RTFA
posted by krilli at 2:45 AM on September 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Older Posts
posted by memebake at 3:26 AM on September 18, 2010

Hope this isn't fake. Seems like we've seen lots of "fake old people" blogs around.

Video from BBC would indicate otherwise. Unless they hired a fake old person to do that, too.
posted by sonika at 8:01 AM on September 18, 2010

Thank you so much for finding this. What a great blog. Subscribing!!
posted by annieb at 4:29 PM on September 18, 2010

Is this not the mother of Bob Greene, the former columnist?

I read her book on widowhood. And of course she is a character in Greene's book based on his 1964 high school diary, "Be True to Your School."
posted by GaelFC at 2:07 PM on September 19, 2010

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