You are not near me
but, love, inside my spirit
living with my soul.
Near by, far away
time passes like a cyclone
Don’t close your sweet eyes.
You are not near me
but, love, inside my spirit
living with my soul.
Near by, far away
time passes like a cyclone
Don’t close your sweet eyes.
Nowhere To Go, In Time Or Place
I felt the tears of uncertainty and dread spring to my eyes. I quickly wiped them away with the back of my hand because if I didn’t they would stick to my face like hot glue. Change hasn’t happened in our lives for years but I know, in my gut, we will be saying good-bye to the world as we knew it, forever.
Saying good-bye to the past, yet clinging, pathetically, to the memories that I hold dear. Old memories that rust in time but bloom in my brain like day lilies.
Another chapter will be beginning but we don’t know when or where. Getting older is not easy unless you are a sweet, innocent child. Children love to turn another year older, there is no death in their future, just presents, and cakes with candles, hope, fun and friends.The aged lack hope universally.
For us, their parents or grandparents, it takes on a whole other realm of closing a chapter and warily beginning another, the last third chapter or the beginning of the end. We don’t celebrate parties in the same way anymore; birthdays come around, it feels like, every few months. There is no happiness in aging when you can’t go back in time. Even memories become stale, photographs, blurry.
Our bodies hurt, pain clings to us like Saran wrap on cheese, transparent, almost impossible to remove. It holds us hostage in our weary, broken bodies
I hold on to the wooden stair rail, going downstairs slowly, sticky over time, but now I am fond of the predictable stickiness in certain areas. I have walked up and down these stairs thousands of times, with sick babies, and naughty toddlers, with gleeful children and with young adults I was proud to call my children. I walked with my husband supporting me and me supporting him.
I am not sure of the timeline, of when we will leave. It could be as early as six months but it could be more like a year, maybe two. The jittery nerves inside me says it will sneak up on us like a deer crossing our path in front of our car in the dead of the night.
I have practiced saying good-bye to everyone I love and have to leave behind in my shaken heart. I will be leaving this home, this carrier of memories. I know I am on my way, still clutching to some false sense of security.
Entering into another phase of my life, of our lives. I have to control myself from me not to sob out loud. I know this tiny, white house which in six months could be painted navy blue or brown. I don’t know, I will never know. But it will never be my house again. My children will not grow up here, the trees we planted for the children will stay and the two big gray rocks other people’s children will climb on.
We are homeless, we have nowhere to go although we can stay for a little time in a few places but never like this again. The locks on the doors will be changed in two days, maybe three, new owners will eventually move in. The FOR SALE sign on the front yard seems to deface our property. It has already defaced our home.
A chapter in our lives is about to be over, a new chapter has not yet been written, the lines blur together. We are standing, clutching on to memories not yet ready or willing to create new ones. I am not sure I will ever want to make new ones.
We step aside, we cling to the naked walls and to each other with the depths of our depression in our hearts beating slowly.
“Ten Things You Do To Make Yourself Look Ten Years Older?” Really? SO WHAT!!!
On behalf of so many women what on earth were you THINKING when you approved that horrid article about “10 ways to appear younger for women? ” We are still reeling with disappointment and frankly we thought perhaps you might have been on vacation that week. That truly would have been the only excuse (and that’s pushing it) for you to have allowed that article to run.
Here was my initial reaction on Facebook: “Dear Arianna, at Huff Po, this is an offensive article. People should be comfortable in their own skin. I wear mom jeans and sneakers all the time, I have adult children (okay my daughter) that would love for me to be more fashionable, guess what? Too bad. I’m 57 and while I need to get used to forming the word sixty, I am perfectly comfortable being who I am. Wisdom has to be acquired, dear. So, a little advice, whoever said okay to this article should be fired. Or at least, get someone to write a counter point. Like me. I’m happy to do it for you. hibernationnow.wordpress.com”
After doing a little research about Huff Po what I read and I’m merely paraphrasing is that much of the staff is comprised of “twenty-somethings.” Way to go to get a true, objective article on aging. Arianna, please, get a grip and turn the once loved magazine around, before it’s too late.
What about enhancing our beauty and embracing our lives at whatever ages we are? No more mom jeans? Tough, some of us like mom jeans, you could have, however, said “wear a belt, or a colorful scarf to accessorize.” Comfortable shoes? My sneakers are great for my feet and I don’t need nor do I have the money to buy “comfortable shoes that are stylish.” Sure, I have looked at those they cost $1,000 and $400.00 not $100 and besides Ms. Huffington, where do you think we are going at night?
Some might have the income you have but most of us don’t. A night out for me is either cooking dinner or once in a while going out to an inexpensive dinner ( my husband is currently unemployed in the Computer Industry and I have a chronic pain disease) taking off my “mom jeans” and”sneakers” and happily changing into my pajamas or sweat pants (gasp, yes, I did say that) pulling off my unfitted bra and relaxing at home, reading a book or watching some benign television show that makes me happy.
Call me totally mindless and stupid but I get personal pleasure out of watching shows like “Parenthood” or “Gray’s Anatomy” instead of horrifying news or tv shows that display all blood, guts and murder. There’s enough of that in the real world, thank you very much.
Once my greatest dream was to publish an article in The New York Times or The Huffington Post. Now, I don’t really think that would be much of an achievement after all. But, you do owe it to women who are fuming across the country to show them this side of the story about aging.
If you and your loved ones are healthy, be happy to awaken to another day, enjoy your loved ones as they love you. Look at yourself in the mirror, without any make-up or new dress- up changes; if you see some wrinkles? Smile, you have lovingly earned them. Be happy with yourself, just the way you are.
Two young people with promise in their first kiss, laughter in their eyes,
a glance becomes a knowing look.
Everything is new, different, hard to acclimate, two people struggling to become a couple.
Years go by, like milk chocolate tasting slightly stronger, and less sweet
dark chocolate melting more easily on your tongue, surprisingly less bitter.
The intertwining of the two after many years, differences not so apparent anymore.
Habits that used to annoy me, about you, I find don’t matter quite as much
In fact, I find myself doing it sometimes but keeping it a secret with a sly grin.
Twenty-four years of marriage, we reach for each others hand
to thread our fingers together like an embrace.
Reassurance is a holy gift.
I don’t want to think of one of us gone but someday
one of us will be forced to live alone.
Live in the moment and with a deep, deep breath I try to push my thoughts away.
For a second or two,
I am fearful of the thought of living without him.
Growing old is hard enough, but if I grew old with you
I think I would be able to handle it a little more easily.
But, we don’t know the story of the rest of our lives, do we?
Stay with me, old man, and I will try to stay with you too.
Once in a while, panic overwhelms my courage and I become paralyzed in cold ice.
Along with gratitude and grace,
I am so humbled to have you in my life.
Your booming voice and stomping steps,
I don’t care about them anymore,
I just care about you and me, together.
For as long as forever will be.
If you are old enough to remember the show “thirtysomething” I would have a show called “fiftysomething.” I don’t know why it hasn’t been done before. This would be a realistic show that would deal with the ‘sandwich generation” all of us aging baby boomers. It would feature our kids, our parents and the loss of our parents. How the economy affected us. Life. Children. Divorce. Being wIdowed, still being single. It would deal with life, giving us a sense that we are not alone, that we all have to suffer through these things and it would be based on real stories and with much-needed humor. Because if you can’t laugh about all this aging crap, you just have to cry!
I’m playing The Corrs haunting song “Everybody Hurts Sometime.” I thought I felt furious and fierce but now I know differently. Sadness crept in like a sly gray cat. What showed itself first as anger and disappointment were really overwhelming feelings of sadness but I have learned that all these feelings are connected.
I spent the last two days getting rid of old things, moving others, de-cluttering. Piles of papers and thick magazines were recycled, drawings that my children made when they were very young taken down, “they were embarrassing to my daughter”: a brown horse drawn by my daughter against big, bold pieces of grass, thick as bamboo, with the title “Somewhere horses are playing;” a drawing of two happy stick figures holding hands drawn with an orange magic marker against graph paper titled “Mom and Me.” Also, a purple lilac bush drawn against worn light blue paper that my son drew in nursery school. The amazing sepia portrait that I loved, dearly loved, of my daughter and friends in the third grade doing the Ellis Island play, dressed as immigrants is also embarrassing to her. What brought me such enormous love and joy every single time I looked at it, has been moved but I know it will never have the same magic in a different place.
My children, now teenagers, on the brink of adulthood. I took down their art and let the young woman and young man free. But, it wasn’t really them that needed freeing, it was me. It was not just spring cleaning but a cleaning out of all things old, old emotions, little children growing up, forcing me to deal with the present and the future and not just the past. Old memories, old feelings, old hopes and dreams. Even when you organize and sift through things, remember, the feelings still remain.
We are starting to think about a Sweet 16 party for my daughter; and with it my own 16th birthday memories come flooding back. Sitting in the yellow, plastic kitchen of my childhood apartment with cartons of greasy Chinese food containers and no laughter, and no guests. Sometimes how things connect in your brain still come as an unexpected shock. We are all connected to our past; the past can get better but you can’t shake that past away from you like you would an annoying spider. The past are the imprints for all that we do and see and feel in the future; the blueprint of our lives.
I am also feeling like half a woman instead of whole. I am playing a lot of Cat Stevens’ music and yesterday watched Harold and Maude for at least the 20th time. “If You Want To Sing Out, Sing Out” is easier said than done; especially when you are an adult, married and with children, a dog, house and mortgage. I am usually proud of my age, 53, but tonight I feel old, unappreciated and tired. I picture my face with hanging skin, my eyes narrowed when once they were bright, green, wide-eyed and had the ability to hold a stranger’s gaze, longer.
With no fantasies or plans for the future I feel like I am living just part of my life, since there are so many unknowns. It’s cleverly hidden on the outside so nobody can tell; its secret shaded by a tree weighed down with heavy, wet, clumps of billowing snow. I dearly wanted something new to think about, to look forward to, to have a crush that would give me that delightful feeling of effervescence that I haven’t felt in a very long time. The thrilling feeling of a secret does eventually become old, like a shiny new penny that was crushed and trampled by a train; barely recognizable, scratched and dull.
One of my favorite poems is named “Stolen Apples” by Yevgheny Yevtushenko whose words I cannot find anymore but in essence it said that ” the taste and smell of stolen apples were much more delicious than ordinary apples.” I longed for small smiles of sweetness. I’ve always liked secrets, me a secret keeper.
I cry and then I understand that I am overwhelmingly sad inside. Sad about the losses, stressed about my life, missing a deceased friend whose bold colors went with her and left us with all things gray, colorless and dull; her loud booming voice is just a whisper of a silent memory. She, who was abundantly filled with the love of life, made life happier for the rest of us just sharing in her joy of people, traveling, volunteering, enjoying life for all of us through her excited eyes. Pain has no memory; I cry again for my father who died more than ten years ago because he gave the love and nurturing that only parents can give. He was so optimistic all through his life until the last few years when he no longer wanted to live. Watching your father not wanting to live anymore is devastating, his twinkling eyes turned to dull gray. His body was fairly healthy but his soul was dead.
I am writing and growing and feeling healthier but inside I feel like a fraud. Our lives are not perfect, is anyone’s? Our children get so uptight even if we just disagree; they do not need to worry. Unemployment, no money coming in, relationship issues, two teenagers who are not children yet not adults, pulling, pulling away. They yank their arms away as if they were toddlers but it’s worse this time, because they pull at your emotions and they do not give up or let up, not even for a one short moment.
We lost power in our house for more than four days. We slept, shivering, under blankets and sleeping bags, wearing sweaters and jackets. We had no control over anything, no light, no heat, no music. Today, the electricity came back on and with it, appreciation and understanding. The day is brighter, the hours seem shorter and life, as we know it, continues.