Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Not the Blog Post I Would Have Wanted to Write

This is not going to be a happy post.  I was going to write today about why I blog (for the benefit of my new readers from the Ultimate Blog Challenge).  But sometimes plans change.

Today at work, I heard that the mother of a co-worker had passed away.  When I went to the local online obituary, I saw a name I knew well.  Not her, but a different obituary.

It was my next door neighbor of over 20 years.

She had passed away yesterday.

I immediately called my spouse.  He already knew, and, in fact, had just come from their house, where he visited with family for 40 minutes.  (I visited tonight, as out of town family started to arrive.)

Her husband....her widower....seemed to be taking it well.   He said to my husband "She died on the 4th of July.  She went out with a bang."

They had celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary less than a week ago.  In the last stages of dementia, she never knew it.

 I don't care what they say about old age.  It stinks.  It robs us of the essence of what we are.  Don't talk to me about the "golden years".  There is nothing golden about those years.  Those years took the mind and then the life of a wonderful woman, who was loved by everyone who knew her.  She was a deacon of her church (and one of her daughter in laws is a minister.)  She was an elementary school librarian.   She did a lot of charity work.  She raised 6 children and at least, tonight, her husband is surrounded by their very large family. (Her husband was an only child and wanted a large family very much.  He got it, thanks to her.)

She loved romance novels.  She had hundreds of them, and she kept trying to give some to me.  She was an avid reader. She loved to have her grandchildren over.

She spent so much of the last couple of years of her life a prisoner of her living room chair.  Her husband, once a telephone lineman, aged at her side.  He told me, tonight, that "I am happy".  We talked to their youngest son, and he talked about her death.  It was a good death.  About two weeks ago, her voice became very slurred. Then she stopped eating. Then she stopped drinking.  She drifted away, asleep almost all of the time.

She died surrounded by the ones she loved, at home.

Her husband has also has a lot of health problems.    I don't want to say it out loud, but I fear for him now.

They were so much younger and full of energy and love of life when I first met them.  So was my mother in law, and my spouse's aunt who is 99, and my good friend's mother, who is 92, and....

Like all of us, I must come to terms with my aging.  I turn 60 next year.  I may be looking at my eventual fate.  And perhaps that is what is affecting me now, as much as the passing of a woman great in her own way.

As Bette Davis said "Old age is no place for sissies."

3 comments:

  1. I am so sorry for your loss! It sounded like your neighbor had a very long and amazing life. It's sad to hear that the last few years were rough though. At the very least she is no longer suffering. Death is never an easy thing, but at least you can find comfort in that. My thoughts are with you and her family.

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  2. So sorry to hear about your neighbor and the community's loss (as well as your own). I'm almost 40, so I'm just beginning to consider aging, but my parents are in their early 60s and the thought of losing them sends me into a panic.

    The best thing is to embrace life and happiness, but it's easier said than done.

    Thanks for sharing. I wouldn't have guessed you were 60, your spirit/presence seems very young and alive!

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  3. I'm standing on that same porch with you, looking at family and wondering how it is that we are suddenly "older."

    My parents in their late 70s and fair health, husband's mom still getting around at 94, hubby turns 69 in a few weeks which will make me 55.5 (exactly 13.5 years apart), plus my husband's older siblings and their spouses... we just have to keep on keepin' on, don't we?

    It is good and right that you have such wonderful memories of your neighbor and that she was surrounded by love all the way to the end.

    May we all be as blessed,
    **Katy M
    Recommending YA books beyond the bestsellers at http://BooksYALove.blogspot.com
    Follow me on Twitter @BooksYALove

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