A BOOK ABOUT AGING, FOR ALL AGES

BOOK REVIEW

Author Lee Reid at home in Nelson. (FACEBOOK)

Growing Home: the Legacy of Kootenay Elders BY LEE REID

$27. Available at Grizzly Book & Serendipity Shop Revelstoke 


Have faith. Be angry at God. Resent death, but accept that it’s part of life.

These are but a few of the profound and beautiful overtones of Growing Home, a collection of stories from seniors living in the Kootenays, by author Lee Reid.

Reid, herself 71, wanted to talk to other seniors because  she felt there was so much negativity, judgment and fear. “I saw that influencing seniors around me.” She recognized what she describes as the predictable “organ recital” of ailments seniors would report to one another—sore hips and strokes and sick cats—and she wanted to get a real picture of aging not just, as she says some have done previously, an overlay of positive thinking.

“When I started out I was really scared. Scared of dementia. Scared of losing mobility,” she said.

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Society also seems automatically scared of aging. Her book, it turns out, is part of the antidote for a culture afraid of the dark, afraid of death and afraid of endings.

These, as Reid sets out, are stories that will nourish your own journey or maybe struggles with aging.

Among its pages stunning photographs and beautifully written vignettes of people who have lost their height, whose joints have been surgically replaced and whose organs have been removed, whose hands don’t work as well as they used to, who may or may not still drive, and who may live alone but, of course, didn’t start out that way. People who bake pies for their sons. People who worry about climate change. People who know where water lines are buried. People who attend a lot of funerals. Stoic people who bear piercing pain and don’t show it. People who build things to outlast themselves—their homes and lives imagined long after their death.

Lee doesn’t find it depressing, and as a reader, you won’t either. The book wipes the illusion of immortality and replaces it with something more valuable: a reminder to cherish time, have reverence for life, visit seniors—and talk with them.

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