In the old days, she would be propped up on a comfy pillow, in fresh cleaned sheets under the corner window where she would in days gone past watch her children play. Soup would boil on the stove just in case she felt like a sip or two. Perhaps the radio softly played Al Jolson or Glenn Miller, flowers sat on the nightstand, and family quietly came and went. These were her last days. Spent with familiar sounds, in a familiar room, with familiar smells that gave her a final chance to summon memories that will help carry her away. She might have offered a hint of a smile or a soft squeeze of the hand but it was all right if she didn’t. She lost her own words to tell us that it’s OK to just let her die, but she trusted us to be her voice and we took that trust to heart.You see, that’s how she used to die. We saw our elderly different then.
One day done easy.
Talking on the phone to Arkue as she moves into her new place. Fiddling with photo effects. A ride from Julie to meeting and a long afternoon sleep. Done easily.
Kaybee is cracking with the packing as they prepare to move into their own home after 5 years in a shack.
And as for me – I remain kind of sane.
“I have a confession to make,” Bill Thomas announced several months ago at a conference on aging in Oregon. “I am an old man.”“No, you’re not!” an audience member called out. It was meant, no doubt, as a compliment: Despite his gray-streaked beard and crow’s feet, the 56-year-old geriatrician-cum-thespian crackles with high-octane energy. And isn’t that what we all want to hear as we age? That we don’t look old? That we seem younger than we are?It’s not what Thomas wants to hear. After more than 20 years of trying to make life better for old people, he believes the correct message is the opposite: That we are lucky if we get to grow old. That there is a “third” phase of life beyond adulthood that can be as rich as either of the phases that came before.