Saturday, 30 May 2015

When Life Winds Down...

Working alongside seniors for the past four years has truly been an enlightening journey. I never considered the road to growing old, no doubt because life was so busy with raising a family, teaching, and living in the very 'hectic' moment! Little time was spent in retirement before I found myself pursuing a new venture with the elders of the community, and facing head on the reality of growing old myself. 
Becoming old is taxing, trying, difficult, frightening, tedious, tiring, lonely, and it forces one to evaluate the reality of life slowing down, and eventually ceasing to be. 
The closer to death we come, a rather inflicting reflection takes hold...our children now grown, our careers now over, many family and friends deceased, little to plan for, little to look forward to as health declines and our bones rebel, this all forcing hope and optimism to the back of the bus.
There are those that smile and wage forward with a sense of gleeful purpose, but they are few and far between, and have inexplainable pockets full of bravery! 
An unwavering courage persists as long as ones' partner is along for the ride, but once a spouse of fifty, sixty years or more dies, their familiar life is replaced with an emptiness and loneliness so visceral there is little purpose in breathing.
The human heart is unflappable when surrounded in love, but soon withers if left to beat alone. 
So often I hear it said that to wake to another day alone is excruciating, and unbearable, and if given the choice or the power, would not continue another day. Being an eye witness to this is heartbreaking and perhaps begs the social issue of euthanasia front and centre. 
The newest retirement facilities are breathtakingly beautiful with opulent decor, yet seen through ageing lonely tears, they become nothing but blurred large empty lonely spaces. The old graceful beating hearts are not easily fooled, and know too well that this is the last station, the last stop, the last chapter of their lives. 
We baby boomers can still look forward to grandchildren, vacations, family holidays together, a rather flexible mobility... and time. 
I have a great reverence and admiration for the old of our world, and I pray I do it justice when my time comes.
My parents now in their middle 80's are still here, still living in the home they raised their kids in, still driving, still standing, and often times I hear them say that it is the pits growing old. I say growing old is not for the weak...

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