The Age We Are

We all age. It’s one thing, like death, we cannot change. In time, we need to accept the inevitable. We all get older and as scary as it sounds it is going to happen whether we like it or not. At some point, kicking or screaming or both we need to find peace within ourselves to accept our new, old age, our new lifestyle, that WE are now considered old.

thanks for old friends

thanks for old friends (Photo credit: Steve took it)

The trick to getting comfortable with your age? I have no idea. Once in a while I become a nervous wreck thinking about it. It usually only lasts about ten minutes at a time but when it hits it doesn’t feel good at all. Like now:

How did I get to be this old? I don’t understand. Wasn’t I just seven walking up the big hill to get to my elementary school wondering about how it would feel being old? I distinctly remember the comfort that I would not get old alone, that the friends around me who were the same age would get older too.

Junior high was a blur, it wasn’t the best time but it wasn’t the worse. It was something you had to go through to live another day. Students bothering you for your lunch money, dark hallways, new friends. Dreary, fenced in cement playground.

Then, I fell in love with high school, my sister went away to college and a new me was born. As my parents said “I blossomed.”  I adored high school, I was at school more than I was at home, in every club imaginable. Writing clubs, The New York Club, Yearbook Club, Acting, Jabberwocky Club (a magazine I, unfortunately named.)

Didn’t I go straight from there to college, when it snowed on October 2nd and finally got warm at the end of the semester for a few days and we played frisbee and sat in the sun? We had a cat named Boz.Those four years went by so quickly, Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology. Parties, crushes, and one ugly hangover.

After that I was single, independent, living in my apartment in New York City, working at a good job, moved to Boston on a whim, I thought my friend Matthew was moving there, made a really good salary, convinced I would never meet a guy. I had a short romance or two. The next step was meeting a guy that for the first time I didn’t get tired of after twenty minutes.

My first love. My always love. We got married, we moved, we tried to have children to no avail and then (thank you G-d ) I got pregnant and what a miracle that was! We were blessed that after two and a half years of painful, intrusive infertility treatments, our son was born. When our son was one, we were thrilled and excited to be naturally expecting another child, another miracle, a beautiful blonde, blue-eyed daughter. I give thanks for my family every single night. That’s what love is.

If I had to pick a time when I was the happiest, THAT was the best time of my life, that time period when I was first pregnant with my son and then ecstatically with my daughter.

Luckily, we have our memories, at least most of them. Photographs too can fill in the spaces that time captured. We can all get scared of being older, it’s natural but here’s something that you can do to help: find other people you trust, and talk. It doesn’t matter what age they are. Pick up the phone, make a lunch date, reach out. Stay in touch with old friends, make some new friends. You will feel better. I assure you, you both will.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta
Advertisements

Hauku Horizons: Sand

Beach, water, sunshine

wrinkled hands, soft, sifted sand

Joy of memory.

footsteps-on-sand

Sprinkle my ashes

Let the waves, take me away

I’m coming Home, dear.

Enhanced by ZemantaPhotograph by Author

Haiku Heights: Time

Piercing angel souls,

1 in 3 Teens

1 in 3 Teens (Photo credit: Taylor Dawn Fortune)

Secrets unravel in time

Death, by lethal lie.

*******************************************************

Deep lines etched, gray lips

English: Elderly Woman Knitting

English: Elderly Woman Knitting (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lowered eyes, dull blue, trembling

kiss of years, past gone.

*****************************************************

Kellie Elmore: Free Write Friday 6-29-13

who am i?

who am i? (Photo credit: Beni Ishaque Luthor)

(things can’t let you down, unless you let them)

“It’s easier said than done, I know that. You know that, right, Son? All this psychobabble about “life’s has its ups and downs, just go with the flow?” Sure, I know that in my head, but when something creepy, or scary or even startling happens, man, that goes straight, directly to my heart and it’s a sure fire hit. There are no stops, no waiting, or hesitating, it’s a missile like an emotional heart attack. It always has a trigger, like now, people are screaming behind me are making me tense, uptight, upset. You have to understand I’m not like you and your generation, it’s hard for me to “just get over it.” I get so depressed and I just want to put my head in my hands and my body starts shaking. My stomach clenches and it’s trying to ruin my day and I feel myself getting hooked on sadness like a slippery snake, going in and out of my brain to my insides. I  try to stop it but I can’t.

I’m lost, that’s how I can describe it, I’m lost. I’m really nobody now. Sure, I’m someone’s husband, brother, father, but who am I? I’m really not sure anymore.  I used to know but now everything is cloudy. What I thought I knew for sure is shaky, what I thought I knew about you is different.I was YOU, a long time ago. Listen to me. It’s easy to push things into those dark recesses of your mind, I’ve been doing that for a long, long time. There’s safety in comfort, I know that. But, how much comfort is worth it? When does comfort become settling or even just plain old vanilla laziness? I’m the wrong one to ask. I stay safe, too safe, and I stay still. I’m not happy, not ever. Probably never have been happy.

Some people like my old friend Jon are adaptable, whatever happens he adjusts. He doesn’t worry, he doesn’t panic, he goes with whatever comes his way with his cool, jolly attitude and his big goofy smile and things always seem to fall into place. I wish I had been like him. I have NEVER been like him and probably never will be. There’s only so much you can do to change yourself, sometimes you born and labeled damaged goods. I can thank my own parents for that.

At least I tried I to face my fears and do things anyway which in itself is a big step. It’s okay to be fearful, everyone is probably afraid of something but making the attempt to overcome it, that’s like a pile of birthday presents you give to yourself, all wrapped up in silver and gold. It’s a birthday cake with your favorite filling, I choose vanilla cake, with chocolate frosting and chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, I’m not messing around here. I’ll even throw in some oatmeal raisin cookies and chocolate mint ice cream.

Life is a crap shoot. I admit, I am sometimes scared of the future, especially now that I am older. I was young once, just like you. I was young with hopeful thoughts and ideas and daydreams but I have lived a long time and Life has changed me. I hope it doesn’t change you too. Keep being positive and loving, honest and trusting. Even if you get hurt, it is worth the journey to experience that love, that excitement again. Take chances, as many as possible and don’t hesitate to try new things. If it doesn’t work out, move right on to something else. Don’t be like me, please, I beg of you, don’t be like me.

I’ll keep trying, in my own little corner of my world, but I don’t expect too much and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with a little bit of reality thrown in to the mix anyway. I am who I am, some good, some bad, just like we all are. No, I’m not giving up anytime soon, I’m still teaching you, my boy, my darling boy.”

Deep sadness - old man [3]

Deep sadness – old man [3] (Photo credit: Zuhair Ahmad)

Carry on Tuesday: In youth we learn; in age we understand

Fred Carian

Fred Carian (Photo credit: carianoff)

Charles and I were married for 53 years before he passed, alone, in the Alzheimer’s wing of the nursing home.  I am now living in my daughter Kaitlin’s house; I don’t want to be here and I’m sure they feel the same. I don’t blame them. I’m mourning more the loss of my  independence than my husband. I’m 93 and I’ve had enough. It is time for me to die.

Charles and I raised our family in Maine, we were “tough old birds” our children used to say.  But, life brings us nothing but surprises, change found us when we weren’t looking. We were getting older, Charles had gotten himself into a car accident, they took his license away, things were very different now.

We put our house up for sale, even though our children were upset, Charles insisted on moving to Independent Living. I didn’t want that but I had no choice. Not back in those days.

We lived first in Harrison House. It was a white building with a lovely garden. Charlie and I used to sit and admire the pink tulips and the big red rose bush. warm season. When Charles was still well and he could walk, with a cane, he would steal a red rose and give it to me. I would be scared he would get caught but he would just laugh and say “Heck, we’re payin’ for it”and we would laugh. When it got cold we would still be in the sun, with our puffy, blue jackets and our red plaid wool blanket on our laps.

After several months I noticed Charles acting a bit odd but I ignored it. He had just had his accident fairly recently and really what isn’t odd in old age? We forgot things, we misplace things. Getting old is nobody’s friend. I would cover for him when the children came to visit. We taught our children to be strong so I had to be strong, until I couldn’t anymore. I had hidden my feelings so long that they burst like the cold waters gushing out of the levees. Finally, I told them the things their dad was doing and they insisted their Dad see a neurologist. I postponed it twice. Finally, begrudgingly, our daughter Kaitlin forced us to go. She was with me when after all the tests, the doctor uttered the words: Moderate-Late Stage Alzheimer’s. Kaitlin gasped but I knew. I had always known.

He deteriorated rapidly. Once he got violent and struck me, they moved Charles to the nursing home in the Alzheimer’s wing next to where I lived. I stayed in our old room, alone. Charles recognized me once in a while and he would have a good few minutes on and off. The last time the grandchildren visited him he remembered them and I told their parents I did not want the grandchildren to ever come again. I wanted them to remember their grandpa as he was. A living memory. It was the least I could do.

Sometimes he would act like a baby other times he would throw things at me and and talk crazy. Who was this person?  I had difficulty remembering he was my Charlie but he wasn’t. He had completely forgotten who I was and would lash out at me, calling me “bitch woman” and calling me “evil.” “I’ve heard it said that in youth we learn, in age we understand but that’s not always the case. Oh no, not really. I made huge mistakes when I was old, more than when I was young. I pretended he was alright when I knew he wasn’t. I should have stuck up for myself like the girls do these days and  never have sold the darn house. I hadn’t learned a thing and I should have. I knew about Charlie’s illness long before the doctor diagnosed him but I refused to acknowledge it. Had I brought him to the doctor earlier he could have been on medicine to help him. I was an old fool, just a plain old fool. Getting old is the worst of your nightmares times ten thousand. Believe me, I know.

I used to have my life and oh, how I loved it. Independence is such a huge part of being alive, you may not realize that but it’s true. I can no longer drive. I stay in my daughter’s room, most times. On some Sundays, we visit the cemetery where we buried Charles. He was a fine man for many years and he had a terrible, terrible illness that changed him to someone else. I will always love that man I married but we buried a shell of a man who was not my husband. That was a completely different person, a stranger, that man was not my Charlie.

Carry on Tuesday: In my life: The Spirituality Of Wisdom

Meditation

Meditation (Photo credit: atsukosmith)

There has been a fair amount of joy and pain in my long life. One needs to learn to accept that from the beauty of childhood to the path of adulthood. It is the tipping point, like a seesaw that sways you from very young to adult. It’s not always a smooth landing, it is not supposed to be; sometimes  the landing can jar you completely and you end up feeling pain. Do not despair. There is always a reason.

You will learn that not every day is wonderful and gratifying. Because when you are young, it’s unlikely to have a very bad day. You may have a stressful day with homework and commitments but these earlier years, they are magical. I try to tell this to my son and daughter but I know they won’t listen; I didn’t listen at their age either. There are some things in life that can’t be taught. You must discover them on your own: Wisdom. Self-esteem. Your place in the world. Connection.

Clasp your hands together, gently, close your eyes and breathe deeply. Allow yourself the time, the solitude, of silent gratitude. We are here in this lifetime to understand, to learn, to focus. We are here to help each other, to seek kindness from within, to share that with the world.

Much of my past life I suffered from anxiety and pessimism. As I was blessed with age, the gray strands of hair, the tiny wrinkles around my eyes have given me the opportunity, the knowledge to learn, to be able to sigh deeply with knowledge and greater understanding. The  choice has always been mine. I stand now, looking in my  mind’s eye, smiling widely, happy to appreciate what I see, who I am, more importantly who I have become. Appreciate every day, be thankful for your gifts, your blessings. Let your heart be open to nature and to blessings and wisdom, to the ways of the world in peace and harmony, starting from within. Trust the world around you, but most importantly, trust yourself.

Carry on Tuesday: Fear not for the future, Weep not for the past

My Grandparents

My Grandparents (Photo credit: protoflux)

“John, you listen up, I’ve been trying to talk to you all morning. Now sit down next to me you old fool and stop teasing me. I’m just having one of my worrying spells. Oh, stop shaking your head back and forth, you old buzzard, you knew I had these spells back when you married me.

What’s it been now, almost 40 years we’ve been together? So long that at night, my breathing slows down to yours, even when that darn snoring of yours wakes me up, why I just push you over and fall back asleep.

We’re old badgers but we’re lucky cause we got grandchildren now.  Stevie’s third child is due in two months, imagine that. Why I still remember when our own babies were born, like it was yesterday. I don’t remember lots of things, but I remember that clear as day. We had two babies running around in those cotton messy diapers, oh my, all the washing and cleaning in the tub.

Do you remember when the kids went to college? Sure, we were proud as can be but I was sad deep down, all the time. I still had their baby photos up all around and I just had to take them down cause they hurt me to see them, all loving and sweet and innocent. I had me a stabbing pain that caught my breath and wouldn’t leave. The kids didn’t seem to need us anymore. All they wanted to do was be with their friends and drink, least that’s what it felt like to me.

We had each other though, so we could talk between us but those weren’t good years. You remember those years? Of course you don’t, you remember nothing. Don’t pinch me old man, I can still laugh at you, I’m your wife, you best remember that.

I do look forward to when the kids visit. Seeing our babies with their babies. People used to tell us how great it was to be Grandparents and they were right. Those grandchildren are pure magic, fat, cuddly babies with sticky faces but I sure hope I’m still alive to see them as teenagers. I’m laughing and shaking my head thinking bout how bad our kids were in their teens and early twenties. Why I’d enjoy our grandchildren acting up to their parents like ours did to us. Wouldn’t you?

How much time left you think we got left, Johnny? Come on what do you think? I know you can’t say for sure, not asking for sure. You KNOW I sometimes think on these things. I got to admit, I’m still a little fearful of the future though I’m not afraid to die. I know you say just don’t think about it but sometimes I  do anyways. I can’t help it. Or what if you die first? I don’t want to sleep in this bed alone and be cold and lonesome. Why, you’d miss me if I was gone too. Who would do your cooking and cleaning up and make the bed look so pretty, just the way you like? I know you wouldn’t say it but I know you’d miss me; I see that little smile there, John, don’t try to hide it.

Now, let’s take each day as it comes, we not look back and weep for it, what good is that gonna do? We had all those times and now our turn is over; it’s time to pass them on to new generations. It’s their turn, let them enjoy it. We’re just jealous is all, because we didn’t appreciate it when we had it and time speeds by us like a quick burst of chilly air.

Take my hand, husband we’re going walk over to our garden now, gonna water the tomatoes, going to pick some of the cucumbers and you can help me with the corn. We’re gonna do it together, old man, and then we’re going to eat dinner, and for dessert I made you your favorite, a blueberry crumble. Why yes I did. We’ll sit on the porch eating our supper, for as long as the good Lord above will let us. I pray that it’s gonna be a really long time.”

Haiku Heights-Wish

IN MEMORY OF THE CHILDREN, FAMILIES AND STAFF OF NEWTOWN, CT.

candles

candles (Photo credit: rogerglenn)

Trembling hands, shooting

Children cowering, crying

I pray for time, peace.

*****************************************************************************************************************************************************

Life, untangling

taut, rope fraying, neon bright

Seen by only one.

*****

I bounce in freedom

Gold coins fall into my hands

Independent me.

*****

Young lovers twisted

shiny, sparkling, delighted

Old age settles in.

Growing Old Together

Growing Old Together (Photo credit: ∞ SaraiRachel ∞)

*****

Sparkling green eyes flirt

my head tossed back with laughter

Looking back in time.

NaBlaPoMo Day 3 Free Write

Sandy_JH_mdpNY-11

Sandy_JH_mdpNY-11 (Photo credit: mdpNY)

How Have You Been Personally Affected By Storm Sandy?

I want to stay in my safe haven, in my little house with my rust colored dog by my side. I appreciate dearly that my husband is able to work from home these past few weeks, I feel safer just being here. I could go out, I suppose, but I am limited to where I can go with street closures and fallen trees and wires in the streets.  I realize I just don’t want to go anywhere.  Not yet. I’ve seen enough on the television 24/7 to know the scenes by heart. I just can’t believe this has happened to my city. It’s difficult to believe that to fill up my car means that I need to search for gas for hours.

While I don’t live directly in the city now, I was born and raised in Kew Gardens, Queens. After college I had my first job in NYC at Paramount Pictures, working with my best friend, eating lunch in Central Park and living just over the bridge, in Brooklyn Heights, years before it became popular. I saw movie stars all the time and in my early twenties, I was so excited just to see them. I practically had a hotline with my mother to tell her who I had just seen in the elevator: Diana Ross, Robert Redford, Dustin Hoffman in our Reception Area being asked if he wanted coffee at least nine times by various assistants (he was not happy) and a young and beautiful John Travolta on the executive floor. It was an exciting and exhilarating time, free movie screenings and many perks.

Now, I appreciate other things. The comfort of my husband’s hand holding mine. My puppy’s peaceful breathing as she lays her head on my lap. Halloween photos from our two happy children in college. Yes, I’m older but more peaceful than before. Storm Sandy was something we may have expected from weather reports but could not actually believe.  A natural disaster, an out of world experience. I know I will venture out again when things are more settled, trains running, power restored. Right now, I am happy to stay here with my dog and my husband but when I am ready, I will explore again, I will reinvent the new New York.  Slowly, with different expectations.

I Love You More

Never Changing With The Season

Never Changing With The Season (Photo credit: dprotz)

There, I said it, in print, published in black and white. You can call it or I can call it when we first see each other in the morning or at 3:30am for a bathroom break but I think this counts a hundred times more. I am the “I Love You More” champion because truly, I do love you more. You can’t call me a cheater, either. To my husband: I’d be lost without you. I know, way down deep, I could get through it, if I had to, but I don’t even want to contemplate that situation.

You accept me for the: overly sensitive, moody, quirky, hungry, anxious, mean, hurtful and impatient person I can be. I know I am also loving and sweet and funny but it’s the bad qualities that are harder to accept. I haven’t even mentioned the Fibromyalgia and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and chronic pain that I have. You support me with driving, if you can, or help me upstairs or out of the car with an outstretched arm at the ready. Your never-ending kindness is (mostly 🙂 ) always there. That means so much to me and I thank you.

I know when we first met you COULD NOT BELIEVE that I had NO sense of direction and you that I would get lost on purpose. HA! Why would I do that? You couldn’t understand if I had driven someplace once or twice or thirty times before how I couldn’t reenact the same route again. My answer: genetics. My father was the same way. The kids make fun of me (mercilessly) but I truly cannot picture in my mind where things are and how to get to them. Thank goodness for the GPS, the best invention ever and yes I know, I still get lost but it helps.

However, I will recognize a person I went to seventh grade with in a different state, in a different setting (like a bakery) and go up to the person and say “Nora?” and know, without a doubt, that she was my friend 40 years ago. I am always right too. You can meet someone an hour ago before, meet them again in five minutes and have no facial recognition. Our minds and brains are wired totally differently. What do we both say? ” Valuing differences.”

You make me a cup of coffee each morning, in my favorite flowered, thin-lipped mug. When I am sick you bring it upstairs to me, with love and a napkin. Sometimes there is a dish of strawberries, blueberries and blackberries already washed, in a dish in the refrigerator. You do that for me. FOR ME. I buy you dark chocolate covered apricots for Father’s Day and tell you they are from the dog because my dad is no longer alive and even though you are my children’s father, it is a lonely, miserable holiday for me. You understand that and you are blessed to have both of your parents still alive. You even understand that I am envious without holding it against me.

I am lucky to have you in so many ways. We are best friends. Sometimes, I need some space but begrudgingly, you have come to understand that too. Through the years I think we have become more like each other, which to me is still puzzling. I used to be the one that liked to stay home and you used to like to go out, now it’s the opposite. I want adventure, you want peace.

Let’s walk together now and hopefully in years to come. I’ve already slowed down and you have tried to walk slower for me. Maybe we can find a shady bench in the park in the future and sit, side by side holding hands. I pray we can get old together, this is my dream. I want nothing more than that; that itself would be heaven.

Dedicated to my husband, Danny