Out of sorts
For the past two days I've been ill.
Frankly, I don't like feeling sick in
fact I loathe it. Obviously something
beyond my control has fallen upon
me. However once attacked by said
secret forces I resent my inability to
rise above it. Why can't I do anything
but lie around and wait for this bout
of flu like symptoms to pass? All of
a sudden my world has shrunk down
to a one to two room radius. Barely
able to move, I have no appetite and
nap frequently. And why do I ache?
Think about it
And then it hit me. This is exactly how
I will feel when I'm old. It's no wonder
everybody in assisted living facilities
are so miserable! Being ancient is like
having the flu 24/7. And like it or not -
sooner or later it happens to all of us.
Of course some can rise above it and
cheerfully push their walkers to even
better places. However most seem to
resent the fact that their bodies and
minds are failing them. So here's the
question - how can we avoid fighting
our inevitable trip to bountiful?
Some do everything possible to stay
young. And while re-stretching one's
face or plumping up may temporarily
hide the truth - in reality nobody can
escape the aches and pains that also
accompany longevity. Some elderly
people optimistically state they "feel
good." And in truth I'm sure they do
given a positive outlook can certainly
brighten one's horizons. However, it
seems that most give up and sit there
waiting for the end to draw nigh. Is
a holding pattern my final destiny?
Sooner or later
My dilemma is whether or not I'll ever
be ready to embrace my own mortality.
Intellectually I'm there. In fact at times
I truly wouldn't mind pushing my eject
button immediately. Unfortunately life
doesn't work that way. A friend who is
of advanced vintage recently stated "I
never thought I'd last this long." That's
the bitch slap of life. Trapped within a
rapidly decaying exterior lies a wise
soul with much to offer. Yet why do
we young folks opt to imprison them
in holding pens prior to departure?
No choice but to
No wonder they're unhappy. My
Mother was miserable for the last
ten years of her life. Not only was
her beloved in the final stages of
Alzheimers - her knees were shot.
When the reality hit that living at
home was no longer viable, Ethel
gave in. Once she forfeited control
that was the end. While never a
glass half full kind of gal, Mother
lost hope. Thereafter everything
was wrong, nothing mattered, and
she patiently sat and waited...
Lost and found
Can you really blame her? The one
she adored was no longer a viable
companion. Her schedule, menu,
and daily activities were dictated by
others. While in theory she should
have appreciated everything being
done for her, she actually resented it.
That's because she had no choice in
the matter. Life was winding down
and therefore it was time to finally
accept that the end was near. The
burning question is, how will we
handle that same realization?
Two for the road
Almost a year ago Frank's parents
decided it was time to move into
assisted living. Since then they've
shifted into another phase of life.
Always optimists, they struggle
with being reliant on others for
almost everything. Rather than
empowered, they're compliant.
Surrounded by love, pampering,
daily visits, and chaperoning - it's
obvious they're slowly fading
away. And while none of us like
it - they're ready and waiting.
Off the deep end
At some point we'll all be there. What
will it be like to live our last days in a
perpetual holding pattern? There's no
doubt we'll get cabin fever. However
will we have the resolve to shuffle to
to the dining room in order to shake
off our doldrums? Is that what senior
nirvana truly is? Could our final state
of bliss be the knowledge that we lived
our lives to the fullest? Gave our all -
did our best - and pushed ourselves as
long as possible? Is embracing the end
giving up or actually celebrating life?