becoming a self in history, becoming a self in my street

Lillian Golden

There have been many days that I wake up and honestly canít believe Iíve made it to the age of 98!  Iím thankful every day that my mind is clear, Iím still independent and that until two years ago, Iíd never been in a hospital overnight other than to have my children.  

Growing up as the middle child of six in the 20ís and 30ís, our life was modest. I was close to all my four sisters and one brother. Kids back then, readily adopted the playground as our home away from home, where I not only played sports, but developed a life-long passion for knitting and crocheting, which I continued until recently when my hands just stopped working well anymore.

During my first marriage, I knew that something was missing from my life. I wasnít happy, and our first child, a boy, died three hours after birth. This was a very difficult time for both myself and my first husband.

Several years later I met a man who was also in an unhappy marriage. We fell in love and I got pregnant with his child during this time. It wasnít a time when women could freely announce that they were up and leaving, so I stayed with him until my daughter was one-and-a-half-years old. It was very challenging to live like this, knowing I was planning to leave.

The time finally came, when I couldnít remain in this painful situation any longer. Of course he thought this child was his and I felt it best to let him believe she was. I realize now, that there were other choices and can only imagine what might have happened if things had played out differently.

For me, leaving everything and choosing to begin over, was a profound act of being true to myself.  Although I lost many friends and was harshly criticized by people around me, I just could not bear to stay in this loveless marriage any longer.  

Moving in and living with my sister and her family for one year was tough, but in the end very necessary and worth it. I did marry my daughterís father when she was two-and-a- half, and went on to have a son with him. We got to enjoy 17 wonderful years together.  

Funny thing, although we were born the same day, same year, he died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 51, yet I went on to live a full life on my own, never remarrying. His death is one of great loss in my life, as he was truly the love of my life. But, in life, we must go on.

My outlook is positive and my daughter reminds me that my ďmottoĒ is ďtalk yourself out of it.Ē  Iíve never let things get to me and Iím grateful that Iím still healthy, able to get around and live on my own. No regrets and Iíve never understood the value of holding grudges.  All my siblings are gone now and I remain thankful to be the last one standing, still enjoying life every day.

 

Written by Beverley Golden on behalf of Lillian