notquiteold

Nancy Roman

Empathy

This week my mother turned 93.

She is still as brilliant and beautiful as the woman I admired when I was just a little girl.

I thought as a tribute to this amazing woman, I would share just one short anecdote from this week.

We had our weekly lunch as usual, and we talked about the great-grandchildren and Christmas preparations.

And I mentioned how irritated I was with some trivial thing that I can’t even remember now – just four days later. That is how insignificant it was.

But Mom said she understands how easy it is to get annoyed with certain people or situations.

And she told me about a friend who had said something recently that offended her.

But then she said:

“But you know, I can right now think of three horrible, sad, and unfair things that happened to that woman. She’s had her own terrible pain that changed her whole life. And she couldn’t do anything about it.

So when I think about being angry with her about some stupid thing she said, it just doesn’t seem right. It seems petty. I can let it go.”

That’s about the best definition of empathy I have ever heard.

How lucky that friend is.

How lucky I am.

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Mom celebrating birthday 93 with her three daughters. (That’s me on the right.)

50 Comments

  1. Beautiful words….I love conversations with our seasoned family members….you learn so much from them.
    Happy Holidays to you and your family.

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    • She teaches me the most wonderful things every single day.

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  2. Lovely post – and what a lovely tribute to your mum. You are blessed 🙂

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  3. and a wonderful happy birthday to your mom )

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Helen

    Lovely story! Happy birthday to Mom!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A wise woman, your mom. And how wonderful that we all get to learn something from her. Thanks for sharing her with us. Happy Birthday to her too!

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    • I am fortunate to be able to write about her, and spread a little of her wisdom and joy. I love having the opportunity to share her with you.

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  6. Wonderful attitude!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mom remains one of the most optimistic people I’ve ever met.

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  7. Your mother is a very wise woman – and your post was very timely. Just this morning, I was annoyed by something someone close to me had said and was stewing about it – then I read your post and thought about what your mother told you. I thought about what this person had gone through in the past year and realized that being annoyed with her was selfish of me and I let it go. Thank you (and please thank your mother for me; my own mother passed away 4 years ago and I miss her and her wisdom every single day).

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    • I was at the same place – being annoyed by someone who may have just needed a little empathy. My mother is generous in her judgments.

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  8. My mom is 90 and still quite feisty. I wait for her to mellow out.

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    • My mother was a feisty kid… she says when she thinks back to the amount of attitude and drive she had, she can’t even believe it was her. She tends to be a worrier, but she knows how let anger go.

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  9. Beautiful picture and I love your Mom’s scarf! You are lucky to have her. My mother has been gone since ’86 and I still miss her. She was very similar. Merry Christmas to your family.

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    • My mother wore something new and special for her birthday party. She looked great! I’m sure you never stop missing your mother… I miss my father every day.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. jono51

    We can all learn from your mother. I will certainly try to. Wish her a happy birthday and thank her for three lovely daughters.

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    • I like to think we learned how to be good people from her and my father. My sisters (and my brother too) are kind-hearted, decent, generous…. and funny!

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  11. Beautiful. Walking in another’s shoes always changes the view.

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    • Yes, when you understand someone, you can’t help but want to be kind.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Happy 93rd to your mom. She’s indeed a s.m.a.r.t. woman. ❤ ❤ 🙂
    Lovely picture of the 'girls'.

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    • I had four nice photos to choose from. I figured I would choose the one where my mother looked best… but it was easy, because she looked beautiful in every picture.

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  13. You have big 👠 👠 to fill. ❤️️

    Liked by 1 person

    • I certainly do. If someone tells me I am like her… well, I couldn’t be happier.

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  14. How right your Mom is! We could all benefit from heeding her piece of advice, taking a moment to truly understand another person & knowing their story before casting judgement. Wishing your Mom the happiest of birthdays!

    Liked by 1 person

    • She has always been that way too. Always always tried to understand someone’s life and treated them with kindness. She was a hospital nurse her whole career, and I can’t tell you how many people have told me she was the most considerate nurse they ever encountered in their lives.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. A lesson for us all! You are very fortunate to have her in your life.

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  16. Daughters can perform the same service, and I love that! The other day after a group lunch one of my daughters said, “I just tell myself that people are who they are, and they won’t all behave the way you think they should.”

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  17. Pam

    Lovely picture of you and your family, Nancy. You are just as sweet and empathetic as your mom. Thanks for sharing.
    Happy birthday to your her and merry Christmas to all of you!

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    • I can only hope to become more empathetic. My tolerance runs low sometimes… but then I go over to my mother’s for a “fill-up.”

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  18. A pleasant-looking woman with a very pleasant, and worthwhile attitude.

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  19. Mali

    Such a good reminder that what people might say about us or to us is more about them and their history than about us. Glad you had a lovely day with your mother.

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  20. Congratulation to your mother. Lovely post!

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  21. Such a wise woman. It seems we have to age a bit to get to that point where we can honestly just let it go. Good lesson.

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  22. Christine

    When I take Mom shopping I am much more patient with long lines, carts blocking aisles and chatty cashiers than I am when I am alone because her patience rubs off on me. By the way, I think you have posted the only picture I have ever seen of all of us (from the time we were kids) where nobody looks silly or weird.

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  23. It sounds like you have a wise mother and you are a wise student.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. What a gorgeous group of women! I am so lucky to have my mom too. She turned 87 her last birthday. Fingers crossed she’ll be around at 93! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you. xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I miss my Gran and my Great Gran everyday. You are lucky. These conversations are what thinking is for. I ❤ sincerity and truth. I ❤ Us! We are incredible! ❤👇

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  26. Nothing is as enjoyable as chatting with ones who have seen alot and have down to earth things to say. Lovely post
    Waiting for sunset on Christmas Eve is like standing toes-over-the-edge on a high diving board.
    Every year we’d cruise casually by the window to keep an eye on the sun’s progress until it was officially evening.
    Then the shout “Christmas Eve Gift!” would ring out.
    You see, the traditions says that the first person to voice that phrase on Christmas Eve to another would be graced with good fortune and joy all the next year.
    (And of course, whomever was first won. Everything was a contest…)
    It’s more difficult to be first now with caller ID.
    As all those who have become my friends in blogland are spread widely across time zones, I’d like to wish you all “Christmas Eve Gift” now.
    And as I already feel so fortunate to have such wonderful readers and writers in this neighborhood, I wish to share any phrase acquired good fortune and joy with you in thanks.
    No matter where you are or what you are guided by, hope you have a very merry Christmas and a new year full of adventure and joy.
    Peace on earth and goodwill towards all creatures great and small.

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  27. :: Love ! ::
    -Missing my Mom at Christmas and always, MJ

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  28. I envy you. My wonderful mom passed away the year I turned 50, and suffered from dementia for 10 years prior to that. I didn’t realize how much I valued her until she began slipping away. I don’t have a sister or daughter either, and really miss that female family bond. You are very fortunate to have such amazing feminine family ties!

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  29. arfanpirzada

    You are one of the most blessed person in the world. May your family live long.Amen.

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  30. I’m late reading this, but I hope your Mom had a wonderful birthday. You’re so fortunate to still have her in your life. But I’m sure you know that.

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  31. Wonderful!

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  32. My grandfather lived with me in his 80s and have fond memories of those days. So happy for you and your mum.

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Trackbacks

  1. Empathy — notquiteold – Yourselfee
  2. Empathy | Ahavaha

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