We bitch and moan about getting old, after which this occurs.
I’m caring for my aged, very frail mom proper now. Within the moments I can sneak away and skim for enjoyable, I noticed this article about an 80 year old woman questioning about feeling sexual attraction, whether or not she’s joyful or to not be invisible, and so forth. blah blah. I imply, I’m glad she’s obtained an article within the NYT. Older persons are receiving extra consideration, as is the getting old course of. That’s good. I welcome it.
However I’m additionally a bit jaded. Or extra exactly, I’m drained in the way in which caregivers are drained. Drained in the way in which daughters are drained seeing their mom cope with the final phases of life. Drained in the way in which existential concern and proximity to the entire mortality factor can weigh you down and make you crabby.
We undergo our lives altering as we add on the years. We flip thirty and fear that we’re “previous.” We turn into midlifers and marvel if we’ll at all times work this tough. We undergo menopause and notice the existential reality of the life cycle. We come out the opposite facet and marvel what we have been afraid of.
All by way of our lifespan, we’re assessing, recalibrating, pondering. What does it imply to be the age we at the moment are?
The whole lot I see about my mom’s existence proper now makes me creepily grateful for what I’ve. She will’t stroll quite a lot of steps with out stopping to catch her breath. The oxygen tank is at all times on, huffing and sighing for her. She is mentally sharp, though drained. She is aware of what’s taking place.
We’re going by way of her closets, eliminating issues. I’m taking notes. It’s a reduction, we each say this many times. It’s a reduction to lighten the load.
We don’t know what’s coming, however we’re real looking. She’s drained. She misses my dad.
I’m drained, and I miss my frivolous life the place I had the vitality to care about such superficial points as sexual invisibility in older age. I do know this can change, and I’ll return to parsing each syllable of the getting old course of. It’s what I like to do, often.
However this part, this lengthy goodbye with Mother, causes me to suppose in a different way about life. As a substitute of analyzing the particulars, I simply wish to take pleasure in life, each facet of it. I really feel so grateful to be 64. I really feel a brand new appreciation for the fantastic thing about my age, and concern about aching joints, wrinkles, and invisibility appears superficial.
Life is difficult. Life is nice.