What My Mother Taught Me

Almost twenty years ago a 73 year old woman approached me regarding upper eyelid surgery.   She had lost her husband some 5 years prior.    Having completed her grieving, she was ready to become socially active again.   I knew she had grown up during the Great Depression on a farm in western Pennsylvania.   She had been a nurse while her deceased husband had been an iron worker for 30 years.   Their entire life had been very frugal and simple.   They had retired to Yuma, Arizona.

She had a minor heart condition and needed cataract surgery.  I didn’t believe cosmetic surgery was  “right” for her,  so I insisted she proceed with cataract surgery.  She completed cataract surgery in both her eyes, following all the after-care instructions.   In the interim, she began talking about not only eyelid surgery but also face lift, forehead lift and lip chemical peels.   She finally insisted on having cosmetic surgery after I had deflected her request some three years earlier.   Now she wanted it all, if I didn’t do it she would go elsewhere!

I took her aside and said, “Mother, I think I understand.  Here is what we can do and it will take some time.”   Over the next year or two my mother had the works, one procedure at a time.   She is now 93 years old and has been sharing her life with a younger man (85 years old) for the past 19 years.  It was having a new man her her life that had kindled her desire to ditch the wrinkles.  She not only looked younger, but she also had a renewed interest in living life.

This experience taught me many things.  Age is a relative term and it is unclear why something starts to bother us, when it hasn’t been an issue before.  Life changes may contribute to embracing new perspectives and perhaps lead to actively seeking some type of transformation.  You are never too old to want to look your best!

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