Today, my dad visited my great uncle Max. Let’s just say that max is old—ancient. I think around 98 or maybe 99, but damn, ancient. He lives alone (his wife, Wilma, passed when I was about 5) can barely see a thing, is completely deaf in his left ear and almost completely in his right. I can see how this would be enormously frustrating to be disabled in two of your senses when you’ve comfortably lived with them for the majority of your life. Uncle Max is no different. But what truly amazes me is that his brain remains fairly active. He hasn’t succumbed to dementia(sp?) as many of his peers probably have. I mean, if you couldn’t read, watch tv, or even listen to the radio, what can you do except slip gracefully into childhood memories?
I guess the point of this post is…Am I afraid to be old? Or and even bigger question, am I afraid of death? When you’re elderly, death is most likely imminent. But I don’t think I’m afraid of being old. After all, everyone just assumes you’re wise and all knowing since you made it past age 65 and everyone helps you with everything! As far as death goes, what do I know to be afraid of? How it’ll happen? What comes next (so to speak)? Yes, but not to the point where I would want to search for the philosopher’s stone or anything. What I’m afraid of is not being able to recognize my loved ones. To not be able to hear music that I love. To not be able to see peoples faces or only get a blurred outline of beautiful places. To be afraid of people. To have to be helped when nature calls. To risk exposing myself to germs because the flu might kill me. To be completely fragile, immobile, blind, and deaf.
When my Dad said he visited him, it got me wondering, what if I’m all alone when/if I reach his age? I’m too old for my children to bother to visit me, all my friends are dead..
Maybe, I’m delving too deep here, but I feel like I need to prepare myself for these possibilities and try to live for the moment simultaneously. My life is growing complicated, and moving so fast. I swear, sometimes I feel like my life is going so fast, I won’t have time to catch up.
…Sorry if you just read all that and didn’t get anything from it. I’m feeling somewhat contemplative.
I have to dive right back into life on Tuesday. I was really enjoying doing almost nothing, it feels like I’m being yanked out of that comfort and slammed squarely back into the reality of life as a 17 year old. I’m feeling optimistic about this year though. A lot is going on my with my life. In both reality and summer dreamland.
Fingers crossed I don’t belly-flop?