Monday, June 10, 2019

Let Me Grow Old

Young and old hands.
Twenty-five minutes ago I was a relatively fit 37-year-old.

Every visit from her progeny always had the same element:  They huddled and whispered among themselves. Their whispers might have been shouts, since Nancy already knew what bothered them so much.

Mom is so frail!...I didn't know she looked so old...What happened?...Is she okay?...

Well, Nancy knew that answer also: I am older. Every time you fly from across the world, when you walk in the door, when I rise to hug you, your face tells me everything.  When did you change, when did you become an old woman?

Hobbling over to the desk, where an old computer awaited, Nancy groaned in pain. Pushing away stacks of her volumes of writing, Nancy sighed and began typing.

To all my children,

I love you. I have always and will always love you.  

You have to do something for me. You must let me grow old

Do not be surprised that I am no longer 37 years old. That was the age when I was in charge of you and put up with all your angst.

Then, I drove you to school, to piano lessons, wherever you needed. I drove to teach and love someone else's children. Afterwards, I turned on my old Honda Civic, picked you up and we headed  home in silence. You were mad at me, mad at a friend, or just plain mad.

Those were the years I held you in prayer and helped you work through life. You either loved me or hated me, or both. But I was strong, I was 37 years old. In your mind, I was almost immortal.

You packed up boxes of your stuff, tossed them in my old Honda Civic and headed out to your own life. There were still boxes left behind which would stay in our garage until your dad died.

I moved. Into an old people community. You moved, as well. I sent your boxes to GoodWill. You gave me grandchildren, from across the world. 

They grew up as I grew old. Their years which passed were the also my years that passed.

And now, I am old.

So, ask your questions. Ask about those years when I was 37 or 27 or 17.  I have stories to tell, and unless you ask, I can't tell them. If you don't want them, stories stay silent. You are 37, too busy to listen or maybe to care.

Let me grow old. Do not be surprised that I am old. Please, just love me as I head into this last stage of life.

Love, Mom

Nancy pushed save again, and then print, and then send.  

Well. Nancy rose to her feet with a groan. Every joint hurt. She grabbed a bag of towels and took off in her new golf cart. Water aerobics always helped and after a swim, she would sit down with her friends to play bunco. Good friends. 

They were old, too.


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53 comments:

  1. Oh I love this. Did you write it? I too recall being 37 about 25 minutes ago. Time rushes past since I became a senior citizen.

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    1. Yes, it is mine. I saw all of my kids end of April, and realized our hands showed our ages. Plus, we got the tsk-tsk when we said or did something odd.

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  2. I have no idea where thirty-seven went either. I guess I'm glad I don't have kids coming to tell me I look old now.
    And yes, sometimes around thirty, time picks up speed like nobody's business.

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    1. When you hit 50 and then 55, it is a like a roller coaster--one of those that turns upside down sometimes.

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  3. It is heart-wrenching to watch our parents age and die. But they are teaching us their final lesson in how to live.

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    1. My parents lived in Illinois (I live in CA) and I visited about 4 times a year. That first few minutes was like that for me.

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  4. Oh yes.
    Let me grow old. And please, please don't decide that I am a child (your child) and need my decisions made.

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  5. This made me sad, but I can relate.

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    1. Sad, true. I am almost there, but that time is just a few years away. When your parents' friends start looking like that, it means that your parents are there too.

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  6. My kids are very glad that we are independent, but I know they fear when that is no longer the case. So do we.

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  7. I love this. First thing I did was look at my hands! I have boys, so I don't get the whispers. I get the eye-rolls when I use expressions they consider too young for my years. Or when I can't keep up when they take off on their long, youthful legs.

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  8. I am proud to grow old. I earned it!

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  9. Susan:
    A wonderfully touching story.
    And, it also applies to men...heh.
    Just wait until you're "socially-secure"...!
    (then you can REALLY go WOW! Where did ALL that time go?)

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  10. The time goes and every day it goes faster..you have to run to keep up and get everything done you want to do. So many things I want to do and so little time. Yes, let megrow old and don't be frightened by it...it's not so bad...beats the alternative anyway.

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    1. So true.

      An old Irish man was walking by the pub. A local friend asked, "How're ya doin', Paddy?" Paddy replied, "Well, still above the sod, thanks be to God."

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  11. One of the best, since I know exactly why/how/who can write this. It is said better than I can, so most likely I will forward this to 'OUR LIST'. they have already been told but you said it so stinking well.

    Here I sit in a well furnished home wanting to live in that big motor home out back. It isn't as big as our bedroom here, but it is home. We had planned to go from the motor home to assisted living BUT my sister who leased this home had the audacity to get old (82) and die last year. Now this old man and his young bride cannot KNOW what to do.
    But let me say thanks for saying it so well.
    Sherry & jack

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    1. I hear you. I am so sorry about your sister's death. Losing a dear sibling is horrible.

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  12. My list of things I want to do, sigh. We now cross off things that aren't going to happen (rafting?), but keep the ones that involve seeing the world and our family.

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  13. Let me grow old

    "Oh don't worry, we will."

    -Human cells

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    1. Oh, yeah. Those cells have been angry with me since I turned 50.

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  14. I see my children more often, so they see me as I am aging and I notice them aging too. Three of them have grey in their hair now. I see the grandchildren less often, but they also accept the passing of the years. I don't mind growing old, it's the stiffness after sitting too long that bothers me more and the pain in my hands.

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    1. You are fortunate to see yours so often. One daughter is a mile away. The other 2 are thousands of miles away.

      My hands hurt. Oh yes they do.

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  15. Aging isn't a worry at all for me. As long as I'm in good (enough) health, beh so be it. :)

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  16. Growing old gracefully and disgracefully? I read that somewhere at work. Its time to give up and accept defeat when you hit 50. So its game over because the best years are gone... for those with serious health issues I can understand that mindset.

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  17. There are too many positives to growing older to let it get you down.

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  18. Growing old. I know we all will do it, but some of us, myself included, will fight it because I have NO ONE to tell my stories to. I loved this, though.

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    1. I'm from a line of storytellers and I hope my progeny will read my stories someday.

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  19. Aging parents is a big part of my current reality. You're right. Part of our job is letting them go. It's not easy.

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    1. No, it is not easy at all. It is darn hard and painful.

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  20. A very touching story, I thought. I am now old and I think it is a beautiful time of life as long as you can move around and be reasonably healthy. I fully understand that sooner or later, things will happen, I will either be dead sooner or a frail much older woman later, but neither worries me much. If you had told me this when I was 37, I doubt I would have believed you.

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    1. 37 was a magic age time for me. I think of it and smile.

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  21. I LOVE this! Beautiful writing, thank you for sharing it.

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  22. I agree that this is beautifully written and painfully poignant. It was so difficult watching what my mom went through, yet she remained sharp almost until the end. Your words really struck a chord with me. We have to try to age gracefully and stay as active as we can. I’m sorry you have to soldier through the pain, but you’re right that it beats the alternative.

    Julie

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    1. I remember so clearly how my parents aged rapidly when they came near 80. They were failing, I was in CA. I was with them when they passed. Mom remained sharp to the end.

      Thanks.

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  23. Dear Susan this was powerful piece of writing !!!!!!!!!!!!

    since i watched my parents went through painful situations it is dreadful to think about my own dependent part of life ahead
    and i really actually want to die before i am burden or cause stress for my boys or their future families

    you made my eyes teary !
    hugs!

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    1. And you make my eyes teary as well. Don't die before you get to share your stories with them. And let them help you pass through those years.

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  24. Such wonderful writing …

    All the best Jan

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Go ahead...it won' t hurt...I'd love to hear what you think!