Becoming unseen 2

Over the last ten years, I have had a growing awareness that my mother and mother in law have been growing old. But I know them as two remarkable women who need to be celebrated. They lived surprising, high risk taking, impacting lives. Both raised a family of four children, were community minded and spiritually alive. Both served others in the Developing World. Both would give you the shirt off their back, their shoulder to cry on and the wisdom of lives well lived.

And both told me that as they grew older, they had become invisible. They couldn’t put their finger on when it happened but one day, they were no longer valuable. They knew this was the case when they entered a store and were offered a chair rather than assistance. Or were ignored in a conversation, only to be periodically asked if they wanted a cup of tea.

Perhaps this awareness came late for both of them due to their work in the Developing World where age and grey hair gives you status. Their age in Cambodia gave them grace and value and place. But their homeland told them they were well past their use by date.

It makes me so very sad to know they felt this way when to me they were heroes. Absolute heroes who told me the way, showed me the way and carried me along the way. Their story is too valuable to forget and their impact too great to contain. Age is just a number and to me, you will always be a ten. A perfect score.

About Kelley

Kelley is a speaker, author, overseas aid worker and perpetual student. She is passionate about women and gender issues, both in the local and international context, which underpins her enthusiasm for kinwomen and its contribution to women ‘living their finest life’. In 2014 Kelley completed a Masters in International and Community Development before establishing The Foxglove Project. Foxglove is a registered charity focused on supporting international development projects that are sustainable and driven by indigenous leadership. Kelley’s paid work requires her to travel extensively to evaluate and support projects supported by Australian funds. This experience and networking enables Foxglove to partner with outstanding overseas agencies delivering real opportunities for the poor and vulnerable to lead independent self-determined lives. Kelley combines these passions with a love of family and faith. Across more than 30 years of marriage, Kelley and her husband have worked through many of the challenges of building a relationship while raising three sons. Their boys have now finished high school changing the dynamics of family life and relationships. One of her great joys is sharing parenting lessons and learning from good and bad (sometimes disastrous) experiences. She uses humour and common sense to talk about the everyday challenges facing parents in today’s context.

2 thoughts on “Becoming unseen

  • Elaine Fraser

    It’s an interesting phenomenon this great disappearing act.

    Some say they relish the freedom of being unseen from a physical point of view in that the pressure of appearance isn’t as important.

    Other things become more important such as wisdom and contribution.

    Not being seen for those things would hurt more and as I navigate these things in my life, I’m drawn more to writing and contributing in new ways.

    This aging thing is a privilege but comes at a cost.

  • Patricia

    The invisible aging culture is rife in our western world. As with many other facets of ageism …. employment, credibility, finances like getting loans, social well being and relationship issues, and on it goes. This is our reality and for those of us who cannot live within other cultures, where silver threads of hair are esteemed; we are forced to live with this.
    The challenge is for us to raise the bar. To find solutions to this problem. Social conditioning is a long arduous tricky task to re condition. . But we have to start somewhere.
    Collectively, we must start healing our world of this social construct. Leaders, celebrities, the media, politicians, social, health and well being influencers, , families and individuals all need to rise to this challenge.
    It would be so lovely to see this change in our time.

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