Did you ever pay attention to when you started watching the obituaries? I don’t remember ever glancing in that section when I was in my twenties and thirties. Then one day someone passes a way that we know.
We are shocked when we see that they really were not that much older than ourselves. I think what made me realize my numerical age was when the first class mate died. I had just graduated from high school and a great guy passed a way.
Then it was years it seemed. I scanned through the headline news. I looked through the court news. Speeding and being arrested just to see if I knew anyone. As I got a little older I started reading the Dear Abby column. I discovered that others had some of the same issues that I had, so it felt sort of good to know I was not alone.
Later on I added the Doctor Gott section to my regular reading. I could find some free advice on my own aches and pains. Once in a while, a name would catch my eye of someone who passed a way. I was always shocked though. I guess my mind never caught up with my actual age.
I had too many people that said I had nice skin. My age was never guessed correctly and usually a good ten years off. This always made me smile. My own mother had wonderful, clear skin, and my daughter has also been blessed with it.
Now that I can get into restaurants with a senior discount and I feel the aches and pains on a more regular basis, I know my age. When summer comes and I drive by the scenic route at the lake, I go back in time to when I could wear a hot bathing suit, and run and play frisbee with my friends. Now if I am in a bathing suit, you can bet I am headed to some form of water to hide myself in. LOL
Hopefully, I have years yet to live life and experience things on my bucket list, but we never know for sure, do we? Now when I look as a regular part of my reading at the obituaries, I almost always know someone who passed on. I am now surprised if I don’t see a familiar name.
Today, I went to see Al. The increase of dosage of his pain medication is still not working. He was complaining of now the other leg hurting. For so many months, it was both legs, but only one hurt the worst.
His nerves that are very much alive are being squeezed in between the shrinking muscles. I can not imagine the pain he endures as this process advances each month. It does make me aware of my own pains and keeps my lips quiet a little more, grateful that I can still walk.
It was almost time for his lunch and he put his call light on for the CNA. I asked, “What do you need bud? Maybe I can help”. He gives me a smile and says,” I want you to see how the aides help me. I put this call light on and they will get me the wheel chair“. I replied back to him, ” I can get you the wheel chair bud and I can even push you down to the dining hall“.
He didn’t want my help. I think he truly wanted me to see that he was capable of making this decision on his own. He was realizing that in order to have a little less pain, it was better to ride the wheel chair. He has fought a good battle. He has won over the pain for a long time, but now with both legs being attacked equally, he may be losing the battle of walking as much.
I told him how sorry I was and he said, “Sis, my legs hurt so bad. I know I am not getting any better. I want the help of the chair. I promise I will use my walker when I can, but the pain makes me tired”. He smiled at me. Such an innocent smile but filled with so much knowledge. He knew what was happening.
The CNA helped him get into the wheel chair, and I noticed immediately that Al’s legs were totally bent in half. He could not stand up. After helping him to get in and scooting him back as far as he could scoot, I followed him and the aide down to the dining hall.
After she left the two of us sitting here, we talked about what he was going to order off of the menu. He decided on lasagna and garlic bread with corn and ice-cream for dessert. I wanted to stay so bad and snitch a bite of his meal, because I was hungry myself, but I said nothing.
His meal was about to come and he looks at me and says with no expression, ” You can go now sis. I bet you are hungry too. I am learning to accept what is happening”. I looked up into his eyes, and I knew for this one moment, that Al loved me. He cared. I will cling to this moment for years to come. My heart was breaking but I didn’t show it. Al has finally come to the place where I have been for a while. He knows he has to accept what is happening.
He did ask me if I could bring him lunch on Sunday, which I usually do, and he added,” You should get some lunch too and we can eat here together with my friends”. I said, ” Great idea bud. I will be here Sunday. If you get lonely or need me before, have the nurse call me”. He said alright and waved to me as I made my way out of the dining room.
After I left I stopped at the grocery store. Quite a few employees knew Al as he was such a social butterfly. As I finished paying the bill a girl that had always talked to Al said, “Can I ask you a question“?
I said,”sure what is it”?
She asked me the one question that blew me out of the water. She asked, “Did your brother pass a way”?
I laughed out loud and said, ” Oh no, I had to have extra help for his Parkinson’s Disease, so he is now living in a nursing home”.
She was relieved and then asked where he was placed. She said she wanted to go see him. I told her that was so thoughtful and told her where he is.
Life is full of surprises I think. We grow up and maybe get married. We may even have kids. It doesn’t matter what you do in your life, time ticks by. For some of us it drags by. We notice nothing special except our own little square we live in. For others the clock ticks by faster. We wake up one day and realize we are middle aged. We have lived more than half of our life.
For some of us we are more blessed than we know and our parents are still living. For me, I have my memories as both of my parents and all of my grandparents are now gone. We can’t stop time, we can’t stop death, but we can choose to live a life and respect our time in it.
Appreciate the small things in each day. Be glad that you were able to open your eyes this morning. Be thankful you could walk to the bathroom and fix your own meal. One day, hopefully way down the road, your opportunity to make decisions may end.
Thank-you Lord for letting me see
All that you truly want me to be
Let me be kind to others today
Let me respect life as you let me live one more day