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."