Do not let younger family members hear raised voices.
Shouting in the young is a sign of energy,
in the old, Alzheimer’s comes to mind.
Remember not to care too much.
Caring uses up amino acids, encourages wrinkling
and leads to embarrassing displays of feeling.
Adoption of a tranquil pose produces
an impression of wisdom. Look at Confucius.
Be prepared to live up to the stereotypes
people have assigned you. You will find this reassuring.
A plate-throwing aunt unsettles everyone.
Try to satisfy the modern medical ideal.
Die quietly, in good health, of mere old age.
Most important, let love go.
Love of food, wine, music
and above all people.
Remember, love can affect the heart.
But after all this advice, if you sense a certain
shrivelling of the soul, forget the graceful bit.
Fight with all your strength that caution
which kills before you’re dead. which kills before you’re dead.
by Betty Munnoch
of Burnt River, Canada and Larbert, Scotland
Betty Munnoch was a very close friend of Julie Leibrich – an “anam cara” – a soul friend. They met as first-day students at Edinburgh University in 1966 and stayed close friends (across the miles) until she died in 2003.
18.8.1927 – 25.12.2003