Tuesday, July 7, 2015

July 7, 2015: the meaning of growing old

Since Mom died I have felt old.  Before there was always someone close to me who was older.  Now I'm the grandma and matron.

As I look back on my life, it seems like it was a long series of losses.  As I grow older, the losses are getting closer and closer together.  I have had friends die or get very sick, children grow up and leave, pets die.  The worse losses were when my husband had his accident and subsequently abandoned me.  Then Mom died.

Today I heard that Mom's youngest brother, Mil died.

Old age has gotten more difficult for people in recent years.  Now we watch our parents dwindle in abilities and die - a foreshadowing of our own future.  Before people did not live so long.  My parents didn't have to watch their parents grow feeble and sickly before they died.  Their parents died at younger ages.

People did not have to watch their friends suffer through chemotherapy or heart bypass surgeries.

I'm not sure that medicine has done us humans a favor by prolonging our lives.  Human beings were not made to live so long.  Our parts fall apart bit by bit through accidents, arthritis, illness,  cancers, etc. No one wants to die young but perhaps it is really the better way to end up.

Maybe I'm just suffering another bout of depression.  I know my "good" years are dwindling quickly.  There are still so many places that I'd like to go and things I'd like to do.  But physically I'm declining and may not be able to live my dreams.  I wonder whether I should just quit working and travel while I still am able.  Or should I just settle down and be content with what I have.

What possible difference will it make if I take a trip to Istanbul or Charleston or Alaska?  I will make memories and those memories will die with me.

I have a pretty good life.  I have a man who loves me, a job that I enjoy, lots of hobbies that I excel at, own a home, have no debts.  Most of the world's people would envy me.

Earlier today I looked at some photos of my former life.  I thought I had become strong enough to face the memories.  I looked at photos taken when Jim, Mom and I lived together.  We were happy and I appreciated it at the time.  Those times were snatched away from me so quickly in November 2010.  I had no time to prepare.  I will never celebrate another birthday with Mom or another anniversary with my husband.  Those days are gone forever.  How can I not mourn?  Does the mourning ever end?