Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mind Games

Over the recent 4th of July Holiday weekend both my husband and I were sick.  It was strange because my illness was a raspy sore throat and then a chest cough that only occurred at night.  His illness was a sore throat but also several raging fevers, aches and pains, tender skin, scratchy eyes and general weakness and malaise.  Between playing with our grandchildren the week before and hitting a late night bar crowd for our son's band that same weekend we could have caught this bug anywhere, if we indeed shared the same bug.


What was so unusual was that he was really sick and I was just annoyingly so until days after he got well and then my cough got worse.  Ninety-nine percent of the time he is the one mildly ill and I drag myself from bed to couch for several days complaining and putting life on hold.  


I realized about a decade ago how I draw on his leadership and strength.  Being the mother and Chief cook and bottle washer (bill payer, house cleaner, appointment clerk, etc.) for years, I always thought I was the headstrong and stalwart person while herding our goslings, as perhaps I was.  But our years together and aging senses have caused us to lean more equally on each other through all of life's later challenges.


His appetite was good so I was not too worried.  But at our ages I could not help but think about what it would be like if this illness was serious.  If we were entering the time in our lives when I would be caring for him day in and out as he started on that journey where his body needed more and more rest until he left me, left all of us.  I could not help thinking of that day when I might be left to walk this trail alone.   It was a black and scary thought, but it did not freeze me in my tracks, because I knew it was possible and I knew others shared this journey.


I am luckier than many people because I think I can get my mind around this darkness, even though it is painful.  I have lost both my parents and a younger sister and  I am practical in knowing we all go this way at some time in our lives and I do resign myself to the inevitability of those things we cannot change with the force of our emotions or the demands of our 'needs.'  We face one day at a time and enjoy its jewel like quality for the brief glow it provides.  Life is such a temporary gift that breaks so easily.  While we may wish to curl up in a fetal ball, the sun will continue to rise, flowers will bloom, songs will be written and sung, couples will make love, and children will laugh and play without us.  This is a good thing.  But I do admit, that at my age, death becomes much more than a theoretical mind game or philosophical thought.  Being stoic is not always enough to ease the anxiousness that only visits in the middle of the night.


(I should probably clarify that I wrote this a while back...)

25 comments:

slommler said...

Wonderful post...and so true! It is good not to buy one's head in the sand and think this journey will go one forever! It will end for all of us and we need to be prepared mentally, emotionally, and spiritually!
Hugs to you
SueAnn

Angie said...

You spoke my inner thoughts so eloquently. :) Thank you.

Pauline said...

We can always plan ahead about how we are going to feel when we lose a loved one and then, wham! we're faced with the actuality and we're stunned.

I think these same "What will I do if I fall seriously ill?" thoughts and because I am alone, cannot come up with a satisfactory answer. There's not enough money for a decent old age home, not enough room to stay with any of the offspring. I can only hope for a snappy demise. Somehow, we manage :)

kenju said...

So true, indeed, and thoughts that come to all of us at one time or another.

Re your question: I was wearing the glasses - I always have them on.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

And the older I get, the more I have these thoughts. I told George he had to promise me that he would not die first... ha ha

Life is precious ---and we never know from one minute to the next what will happen. My knee problem and surgery really caused a huge change in my life. For an active gal, this has been VERY hard...

I guess this incident (which hit me hard) has made me realize how precious life is... There's no guarantee --and we all need to live our lives to the fullest each and every day we can.

Hugs,
Betsy

Maggie said...

So sorry about the bugs.

Yes too, as I grow older and he grows vastly younger, I've thought of this quite a bit. My mother was very much older than her last husband, and I watched the two of them struggle with aging and death over a very many year period. We can plan and plan then at the end no one knows what's to happen next. I told G to just dump me in a nursing home with a computer. :)

So sorry about Barry. I didn't know him but can see how he affected the blogosphere. He will be much missed.

I had initially stopped by to say thanks....thank you for leaving notes every day on my blog even tho you've been buggy.

Freda said...

I like to hang onto the thought that ultimately we miss our life partner because we loved and shared so much. V hard to think of being alone, but also v necessary. Thanks for sharing this.

Freda said...

I like to hang onto the thought that ultimately we miss our life partner because we loved and shared so much. V hard to think of being alone, but also v necessary. Thanks for sharing this.

20th Century Woman said...

There's so much to think about here. Jerry and I were born in the same year, so it's a contest to see who lasts longer. The one who goes first will be the lucky one.

I think I have enough money for assisted living if I get to that point. I love my children, but I would hate to live with any of them.

One Woman's Journey said...

Tabor, so much you share goes through my mind quite often.
I never thought I would spend my last days solo. Just never felt like those that came along were the right one. Now settled at being solo but there are times it would be nice to have another caring soul to share life with.

sandy, from gardenpath said...

You aren't the only one thinking along these lines. My husband will be retiring in a year or two, and we are headed off into the sunset (New Mexico). Most of my siblings have some sort of ailment or the other, and every once in a while, I get to thinking what if thoughts.

Kerry said...

I am at this stage in life too; so far John and I have been blessed with good health. So much so that I often wonder when it will stop, when the other shoe will fall. As it inevitably will.

colleen said...

I play out my own death and Joe's and our old age many times, especially since caring for my mother. I think it's just the way I "prepare" as I try to grok the reality of what will come.

Dave King said...

I, too, have been giving some thought to the time when one of us is left to finish the journey alone. Like you, I can get my head round me being the one, but the thought that it might be my wife, worries me because of her disabilities. That's the one that I can't get my head around. A thought-provoking post.

Scorpio Woperchild said...

Good morning, Tabor. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Scorpio Woperchild -- one of the reviewers over at Ask and Ye Shall Receive. I can only presume that at some point in the last four to six months, you submitted for a review from us.

Your time is now.

Richard said...

Send me your Grebe (?) picture and I'll see if I can ID it. Email addy on my blog.

Friko said...

All of it, every word of it, recognisably true and only too real for me too. Friends and acquaintances are falling ill, and several seriously, one has already died. I hate it, i can't bear it, but I do and my life goes on.

this old platitude "make the most of every day", perhaps it is a phrase to be taken to heart, although in the end, it won't matter even if you don't.

When I beat the depressive drum and moan about the futility of life, Beloved always says: sure, it's true, it is futile, but you have to live it, so you might as well enjoy it anyway.

btw, I have just had this dreadful sore throat too. All my mouth, gums and palate swelled up. I've been feeling quite ill for two days.

lakeviewer said...

Best to be practical and as prepared as we can be for the eventual end of the journey. Having a ocmpanion will make it oh so much easier.

Granny Annie said...

Don't you hate having an illness and the doctor tells you that it is so bad because, "it hits the elderly harder"?

Tabor said...

Grannie, do we complain more and therefore he/she thinks it hits us harder? I don't complain, for sure. Having only visited a doctor twice this year and both for respiratory infections that would not go away!

dan said...

Life is full of so many distractions it's easy to forget our mortality and even how much we depend on each other.

I think you have a lot of guts to write such a naked post and I enjoyed reading it as much as the next.

I hope the bugs have gone.

bob said...

I hope both of you are feeling fine now and enjoying a still very long string of jeweled days.

Darlene said...

Illness can make you aware that life is not forever. When you are left alone you just do what you have to do.

I have been alone for so long that I wouldn't want it any other way. You learn to adjust and move on.

Darlene said...

Illness can make you aware that life is not forever. When you are left alone you just do what you have to do.

I have been alone for so long that I wouldn't want it any other way. You learn to adjust and move on.

GrrlScientist said...

i am also compelled by thoughts such as these, especially since i recently reconnected with my brother whom i have not communicated with since we were kids (the parents got rid of me). you see, my brother, who has a wife and 2 preteen kids of his own, is dying from an incurable cancer. the enormity (and the unfairness) of it all it breaks my heart in ways i never thought possible.

i have no wisdom to share except to let you know that i understand what you are saying. that's it.

GrrlScientist