Auldyin

When the oldest woman and the oldest dinosaur appear in the same news day it’s worth taking note.

Besse Cooper died peacefully on Tuesday afternoon in Monroe, east of Atlanta, Georgia, at the age of 116, (Besse Cooper, World’s Oldest Person dies, 2012. Sky News Online, online. Available at: http://news.sky.com/story/1020793/besse-cooper-worlds-oldest-person-dies [Accessed 5 December 2012].

The Nyasasaurus was declared the oldest and perhaps first dinosaur to ever walk the earth, 10-15 million years earlier than the former record holder of 230 million years, or thereabouts. (Nyasasaurus: Is It World’s Oldest Dinosaur, 2012. Sky News Online, online. Available at: http://news.sky.com/story/1020780/nyasasaurus-is-it-worlds-oldest-dinosaur [Accessed 5 December 2012]).

The bones of the dinosaur were discovered in 1930 in Africa’s Lake Nyasa (now called Lake Malawi) and brought to London’s Natural History Museum where they remained until the dinosaur guys realized they had something special on hand.

245 million years is a long time; but so is 116, or 100 years, or even 90. Besse would have outlived her husband(s), all her friends, perhaps her children or even grandchildren. She would have known countless griefs, and yet she kept on.

People who pass 90 and keep on going have always been wonderful to me. A friend of mine, Mr. P., announced at his 94th birthday that he wanted to reach 100, this in spite of the fact that he was living in the nursing home, quite frail and grieving each day for his late wife. Another friend, Mr. M., was already 100 and seemed content to look forward to 101. Sadly, both have died in the past year, gone on to their reward.

I have known many others, some much younger than my friends who say simply, “I’m ready to go.”

“What keeps you going?” I once asked Mr. P.

He was still quite sharp, but didn’t really have an answer to my question. I can only speculate that he just loved living, not a bad way to be, not bad at all.

As the first dinosaur it’s hard to imagine what the Nyasasaurus did every day. I suppose someone had to be first, but it must have been a lonely existence. No wonder it died out.

For Besse though, something else must have kept her going: love of life, love of others, love of chocolate? Maybe all three.

I suppose it will remain a mystery until I reach an age when I could reasonably be “ready to go.”

Until then I’ll try to take inspiration from Besse and others like her that life is worth living, every day the Lord sees fit to give us.

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