My 90-year-old grandmother (a spring chicken compared to Ms. Riley) is in a nursing home. She had a stroke several years ago. But even before that horrible event, it seemed that her willingness to expand herself and her world had faded. We tried to get her interested in email--she has children and grandchildren scattered around the country--or books on tape--she loved to read, but her eyes were failing her--but she couldn't summon any interest in new technologies that might have helped make her days better. Now, she's not in the physical condition to learn anything new. And it makes me wonder. Do people who remain connected to the world around, who continue to learn new things and stay interested in others, who maintain an open heart and upbeat attitude live longer, happier, healthier lives?
Maybe Olive Riley wasn't happy. I don't know. But it appears she was. Her final blog post mentions singing a happy song with one of the nurses and other residents. I find that inspirational and not a bad way to go out.