Thursday, August 31, 2017

Aging Stinks

Aging stinks. There’s no way around it. It stinks. Out loud.

Don’t offer me the time-worn platitude that we should be grateful for getting older, as many don’t get that opportunity. I’m all too painfully aware of its truth. I am grateful for every day that I get to be one day older ...

But aging stinks.

Yesterday I was confronted full-on with this truth, as I was forced to enlist help in transferring items -- mostly furniture -- out of storage. I was forced to sit on the sidelines and watch a couple of young men handle my belongings, all the while 100% KNOWING that I had been able to handle these things myself (or with assistance from another) not all that many years ago. I KNOW, because I personally had participated in moving these items during various relocations. And it was torture to idle by, watching someone else work. I felt lazy, and useless, and maybe even a bit embarrassed ...

And today, with a jolt, I realized that this is PRECISELY the way Greg must have felt as he assumed the role of Director, more than Doer, at events we participated in. He may, in fact, have felt even worse and more helpless, as he was sick long before he started showing outward signs of being sick.

Yeah, I remember sly comments that were made to me about how I was doing more than my share of the work of Celtic Heritage, and the oblique suggestions that Greg was taking advantage of me; I heard, second-hand, observations as to how Greg was “one of those” men who sit by and watch their wives work. Knowing how much he would be hurt, I never let on to him that I was hearing these things. I do realize -- well, I do hope -- that no one was intentionally being cruel. But they were judging, and it still stings ... and I kind of hope that they feel at least a pang of regret at having judged my husband without fully understanding what was going on. Because the simple truth is that NO ONE understood, not even Greg himself, what was going on. His body was aging, though due to chronic illness rather than sheer age, and he was forced to “idle by, watching someone else work.”

Aging stinks. There’s no way around it. But with the loss of physical ability comes the opportunity for greater insight, and I can certainly be grateful for that. I’ll fight the feelings of laziness and uselessness and embarrassment, and try mightily to fight the fear of being judged by others. And I’ll pray for resistance against judging that which I do not understand.

Maybe that prayer is something we all could make, regardless of our age?