The call came around noon on Tuesday. It was from my son, who was in Cincinnati for business and had stopped to see his grandmother.
“Mom,” my son beseeched, “you need to get to Ohio as fast as you can. Nana’s not doing well.”
Those of us who have watched our parents slip into old age, face multiple health challenges and then pass through death’s door, know that the end-of-life journey can be tricky.
I love Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday of the entire year. I try to live a life filled with gratitude, and it’s special to have a day set aside for giving thanks – even though I practice it every day.
There are two kinds of losses in this life: clear loss, such as the death of a loved one where there is a body, and ambiguous loss, where the person is there – but not there.
When we reach 60, 70 or 80 we are surprised we got here so quickly. We meant to make investment plans and take better care of ourselves along the way. What happened to the last 40 years? It’s scary, this aging thing.
One of my cherished friends died this week at the young age of 69. One day, she was healthy as a horse and the next day she had cancer and was in pain. The pain continued over the next nearly year and a half, no matter what treatment she received.
My greatest fear as the years went by was that my spouse might die first. Having had no children, the thought of my husband dying first and me being left alone in the world was something I simply couldn’t bear.
Dealing with grief is tough. When someone loses a spouse or loved one, a numb feeling sets in and they are stunned and surprised that something so horrific has occurred. Initially, they may feel literally frozen in place because essentially, they are in a state of shock.
Judith Viorst, in her book Necessary Losses, promoted the idea that the first half of life is about acquisition and the second half is about letting go.
When it comes to aging, while concerns about sagging skin, baggy eyes and low energy might preoccupy your thoughts, they can seem superficial when it comes to fears of developing Alzheimer’s or cognitive decline, losing your memory and developing dementia.