Never underestimate the power of the human will. I was reminded of this recently when our Irish-born friend Mary turned 93. She celebrated with her family on Long Island, then returned home to Central Florida last week.
We called her to invite her to a birthday lunch. "Oh, no, thank you," Mary said. "But I want you to come to a little dinner party I am having this weekend. And don't say it's too much trouble."
And so we went, and so, as usual, Mary did all the work, even refusing to have us help with any of the food or clean-up. She was determined, apparently, to prove to the world, and herself, that she could triumph over pain (arthritic and otherwise) and continue to entertain as she always has.
Last year, Mary fell twice and was briefly hospitalized; but, having survived the London Blitz and raised four daughters while working hard in England and New York, she is tough; and she has little use for doctors.
She is, at 93, planning a redecoration of her condo before more family members come to visit her. She was born to be a generous hostess, but she was also born with, or developed, a strong will that almost nothing seems able to defeat.
If I should live to be 93, I hope I carry on with the spirit of Mary. When I have pains and aches, I always think of this inspiring, determined woman, being grateful to be among her many friends.