Then And Now XI
Monday, April 17, 2017
For most of my life I didn't think about death. Even after my parents died I associated death with old people. When a young person died it was an aberration. More than eight years ago my husband was diagnosed with acute leukemia, a fatal disease. I was his sole caregiver for almost 4 years. That brought death front and center. Each day I would awake wondering if I was a widow. I was scared out of my mind of death and dying. But, I had come to terms with death for the most part and went on living my life after after he passed.
Yesterday I was invited to Easter Dinner at the home of a dear friend. I am also a very close friend of her sister. The sister recently turned 82 and had an emergency gall bladder operation a couple of months ago. I hadn't seen her sister since Christmas. To make a long story short, I was in shock when I saw her sister. She looked like a skeleton, had no color, and seemed to have some minor difficulty with short term memory. I felt I was looking at a dear friend who was at death's door. When we got up to eat, the sister took a few steps to get to the dinner table, holding on to furniture as she went to the buffet. She didn't make it and if someone hadn't been standing right by her to catch her she would certainly have fallen and seriously injured herself. I'm still in shock seeing her in this condition. I don't expect she'll make it to the end of the year and will not be surprised if she lives just a couple of months more.
This week is my birthday. I am no longer middle age....I am old. That said, I am especially blessed: my health is excellent, my senses and memory are very sharp, and life is good. The only time I am aware of my age is when I look in the mirror. Wrinkles and sagging skin in my neck take me to a reality I'd just as soon tuck away. I find I am not so much looking ahead as I am looking behind. That comes as one ages. Still, aware of my good fortune, I make plans to do things I love to do, and relish in things I enjoy. This year I will travel. No point waiting around since I'm in good shape.
I find myself aware of my situation, but not dwelling on it. It's easy to do if you are in good health. Quality of life is everything. To be alive and to suffer is not living; it is existing. I'm hoping my genes enable me to live my life free of pain and suffering. So far, so good. Life is a precious gift.