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Wee hours brooding

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

I hate growing old. Not because of the graying hair - I've gotten used to that. Or even the droopiness and wrinkles, or as I like to tell the hub: sedimentation and erosion. I've gotten used to those as well.

No, what I hate about growing old is that everyone around me is growing old too. In the last year I've lost one colleague to full retirement and two to half retirement. There are about 15 of us left with equivalent positions, and 9 are old enough to retire - it's going to feel very lonely at work in a few years. It's certainly getting more stressful because those of us left have more to do since our retirees are not being replaced.

Two close family friends had multiple bypass surgeries last year; close calls. We lost one colleague to cancer. Another one has been diagnosed with early dementia. The hub lost an uncle to cancer a few months ago. I lost one aunt to old age last year, and my other is still recovering from a stroke.

One of my work colleagues lost his mother yesterday. She went into hospice last week; she was elderly but took a sudden turn for the worse. He has spent the last days living in her hospital room. He stopped by yesterday morning to update us, and it was hard to know what to say. The day reminded me of losing my Dad so many years ago - so much pain, grief so strong it felt like stabs in my chest.

It feels like a long steady stream of good-byes, stretching endlessly into the future. We're lucky to have each other while we do, but in the end we will all leave each other. It's the cost of loving each other; we pay for it eventually. It's a dear price, but well worth the joys that we share with each other.

Still, today I'm hating growing old. Or maybe I'm just feeling sad - I learned today about another young male trainee at work, not one I'd ever met, committing suicide over the weekend. That has nothing to do with age, so it feels particularly cruelly tragic. I can't imagine what his parents, who live several states away, are going through.
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  • BUTTONPOPPER1
    It must be so sad to have to keep adjusting to these changes in the human landscape. Maybe I'm fortunate that I work pretty much alone and don't have many friends.

    But if I think of my family and the few others whom I love (and I feel this way about my SparkFriends, too, to some extent!) I think you are right--"[loss] is a dear price, but well worth the joys that we share with each other." Because I have been so alone, I don't have to experience loss very often, but the price for being along, of course, is not having lived as fully as those who go through this often. I think your story here shows how much you have learned from others and how much you have touched their lives, how blessed you have been (except for the increased workload--hard to see that in a positive light).
    1834 days ago
  • JCLJR4547
    WHAT I HATE IS FEELING OLD!
    1834 days ago
  • JELLISON27
    I'm 55 with two elderly parents that in the last year have suffered some health issues. I too am dreading getting older but not for myself..but for them...I am not ready yet to say my goodbyes. I try to spend as much time as I can with them.
    1834 days ago
  • no profile photo L_DROUIN
    You described growing old well when you said that "it feels like a steady stream of good-byes, stretching endlessly into the future."
    I'm looking forward to the start of a new camping season, but it will again be different this year. One of the couples who camped with us had just had another brother join us. This man was very musical and I loved to stand on my deck and listen to him play the guitar and sing. He went into the hospital and died. His wife never came back to camp, just sold the RV.
    Another lady who we played cards with, was diagnosed with 4th stage lung cancer and died less than 2 weeks later. Her husband will come for some of the activities as will her daughter, but their 2 lots are vacant now. They had lots just across the roadway from us.
    It is hard to accept the changes especially when you don't know who will pass away and not be coming back in the spring. It is hard to watch the family members who are left as they struggle finding normal again. Some hang in there and other wait a couple of years and then leave too. :(
    I'm 63 and I remember when I was young enough to not think about this. Wish I had paid attention then and embraced those who I loved more. I never thought that I could have such a long list of friends and family who have passed away.
    1834 days ago
  • CRYSTALSMISSION
    Hugs
    1834 days ago
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