I thought of aging, though gracefully, as something sad, but alas, I must be joyful to have reached that age!

AWRIM planned to have a workshop on ‘Growing Old Gracefully’ in July this year which targeted the Sisters of 45 years and above. I joined this session and one of the Sisters, who two months later was celebrating 50 years in religious life, was so excited to hear what it means to age gracefully. The facilitator Fr. Isaac Mpokwe, OCD was so calm when giving this workshop.

The first thing which struck me most was the fact that, our life starts like the day where we have the morning which symbolizes birth, daylight symbolizes our active age where we do a lot of things, the afternoon is the age in which I am (age after 50 years and above). Finally, we have the evening which is our death. Death is real, I will one day be dead, but how can I prepare for my death? Fr. Isaac said that to have a happy death I should start preparing for my aging gracefully. Count God’s blessings and do not discount them, always be thankful for everything God has done for you in life.

He also talked about the aging kit which is a very good tool to make me age gracefully. The components of this kit are, Power of God, Power within, Support from others and the Beauty Around.

One of the sessions was on the impact of HIV and AIDS in relation to growing old. I was touched when I learned that, some people deny that they have aged, and likewise some deny that they are either infected or affected by HIV and AIDS. As I grow, I must be open to facing these challenges so that I can accept the condition in which I am. Growing old and HIV and AIDS are somehow related because the result is gradual ending into the evening.

Sisters, I have learned a lot from this session, and this will make me prepare for my old age happily. I have mostly enjoyed the fact that, now I am growing towards the evening of my life.

I feel that such workshops should be done every year so that many sisters can participate to avoid depression and regrets during the old age and at the time of death.

Sister of Mercy, thank you for your support towards this workshop, it is very enriching.