Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Speaking a Foreign Language

I have been speaking a foreign language in recent days, one filled with terms that are hard on the ears and harder on the heart. So many of those I hold dearest are going through physical battles.

"How are you"  no longer a superfluous phrase but a gateway to conversations on surgeries, on recoveries, on tests and more tests, on worry and wonder what tomorrow holds. I have reached an age where what was supposed to happen to the generations that came before, now applies with ever increasing force to those who stand astride of me.

It is a funny thing about getting old, or at least older. It caught me by surprise. Being on Medicare, celebrating over 40 years of marriage, they seemed like abstractions to me. In one sense I understood the implications of these events. But I was not ready to watch the collective mortality of those around me appear. Not on the distant horizon but on our doorstep. 

Now I wake up in the morning and try to recall the ever burgeoning litany of names I want to check in with that day. To monitor progress, to offer whatever meaningless phrases of support I can muster, to see if there is something, anything I can do to make the day a little easier. For now, in many ways, abnormal is the new normal.

And I wonder when the time arrives where I am not making that call but am on the receiving end, will I handle it with the grace and dignity that seems to prevail among those who are now struggling around me. I am a worrier, a heart on the sleeve guy, I cry at commercials. Will I muster up the strength and courage to show a brave face to the world when my time to fight arrives?

In the coming days, I hope that each of those who are on a quest, find answers to their questions and remedies for what ails them. But I know the odds are long that all will emerge unscathed. Along the way there will be pain and even some who are lost. It is a hard and uncomfortable reality that now is knocking on the door.

Growing old is inevitable. I just thought it would never happen. Not yet anyway.


Anonymous said...

From what I can tell, when your time comes, you will not be the most stoic among us, but you will have lots of friends to help you through. You have earned this by being a good friend to so many. Sit back, bitch, complain, do what you need to do, we’ll have you covered.

❤️- NL

Anonymous said...

Beautiful. All those around you know that your heart is truly on your sleeve. This is everything.--RE

Anonymous said...

Dear Robert: This one is a classic. As a fellow with one foot in the grave and the other one waving goodbye, I loved this. In my case, (it was Mark Twain who quipped that the reports of his death were an exaggeration... well, more or less that is what he said), I am finding this trip down along the end of the road very rewarding. Baby-hood happened, but I barely recall it, Little happened except that I got bigger and bigger and somehow managed to survive measles, whooping cough, chickenpox, influenza pneumonia, polio, pneumonia again... but who can remember or enjoy any of that. But now, this chapter is very interesting. A real growing experience. Never have been more alive. Would hate to have missed it. As you know, my twin just didn't wake up one morning. Damn! She really got cheated. To have the chance, as Epicurus had, to look back and savor a life well-lived. Wow, that's the icing on the cake!. Well at least to my mind, and I have come to think that it is my mind that is really the only one that truly matters in the end. And that priceless treasure is a gift of old age.

Warmest regards,