Posted by Ronan Scully in Features.

With Mother’s Day just gone, my mind is wandering to a memory of my wife’s mother, Kay, who was 80 years of age when she passed away around this time last year.

Kay was such a stunningly beautiful woman, who was always well poised and who was fully dressed each morning by 7am, with her hair sorted and make-up perfectly applied even though she suffered terribly from arthritis.

She had been quite unwell for a while before she died and we were lucky that the good doctors and nurses in Galway and Clare looked after her so well and were able to get her a bed for treatment.

I remember waiting in the hospital reception area while she was being admitted. She smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she manoeuvred her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual  description of the room she would be frequenting, including the beautiful curtains that had been hung on her windows and flowers beautifully arranged on her bedside table.

I love it, she stated with the enthusiasm of a child having just been presented with a new toy. ‘Kay, you haven’t seen the room yet. Just wait,’ I said.

‘That doesn’t have anything to do with it,’ she replied. ‘Happiness is something you decide on ahead of time. Whether I like the room or not doesn’t depend on how the curtains or the flowers are arranged. It’s how I arrange my mind. I’ve already decided to love it. It’s a decision I make every morning when I wake up. I can spend the day in bed recounting the difficulty I have had the parts of my body because of arthritis that no longer work, or I can get out of bed and be thankful for the ones that do.

‘Each day is a gift and, as long as my eyes are open, I’ll focus on the new day and all the happy memories I’ve stored away, just for this time in my life.’

She went on to explain, ‘Old age is like a bank account: you withdraw from it what you’ve put in. So, my advice to you, my dear son in law, would be to deposit a lot of happiness in the bank accounts of memories and life.

‘And, thank you for your part in filling my memory bank,’ she added. ‘I am still depositing. And always remember these five simple rules to being happy. First, free yours heart from greed. Second, free your mind from worries. Third, live simply. Fourth, give more. And fifth, expect less,’ she added.

Thought for the Week

As your Thought for the Week, always remember that each day is a gift and that many of our elderly, our parents and aged friends and relatives, helped to provide us with such a gift.