It is hard to see the fairness of age. The body changes and the bones ache.
Our vision becomes less than what it was. Our memory fades, or otherwise, blend into inaccurate versions of misremembered facts….
I remember The Old Man never seemed frightened of anything. He wasn’t bothered by the dark. He never minded the cold, or backed away from a challenge, or hard work.
No, the only thing that frightened The Old Man was being old. He was afraid of becoming incapable, or sick.
My mother never liked horror movies. She was afraid of bugs and mice.
As I recall, she had a terrible fear of ferrets.
I learned about this at a pet store when I was a young boy. I called my mother over to bargain for a pet, and as I lifted the long, lanky animal from its playpen, about to ask, “Please can I,” my mother burst into a loud scream
Partly because I laughed, and partly because I was unsure why she reacted the way she did, I walked towards her with the animal in my hand.
She shouted, “Get that thing away from me!”
And me being the mischievous wise ass, I lifted the animal closer to my mother.
She shouted again, “Get that thing away from me,” and turned her back to me while curling her arms upwards, and leaning into a display of decorated aquariums.
When the Old Man felt his age, he would push himself. He would start a project or work on the house.
He would work harder and longer to prove he still could—and sometimes, The Old Man became bitter.
My mother explained, “Your father is afraid of getting old.”
“I can always tell when he feels this way,” she said.
Then she told me, “Don’t worry. He’s not mad at you. He’s just mad at the things he can’t control.”
I asked my mother, “Are you afraid of getting old?”
She smiled, “Getting old is a part of life, son…..and life is not always fair.”
My mother was right.
It is hard to watch her age. It is hard to see helpless or sick.
I compare life to the span of one day. I was born at my earliest hour; I grew and lived through noon, and same as the sun descends after midday, so will my life until twilight.
Throughout the day there will be periods of clouds and rain. But then there are rainbows.
There are moments of wind and times of sunshine. There will be cold times and moments of warmth.
During my sunset…..if I’m lucky…..I will be able to reflect at my nightfall and reminisce before I sleep.
Now, in the sunset of my mother’s life, I am thinking about the words she once told me. “Getting old is part of life, son….and life isn’t always fair.”
I’m not mad at anybody…..I’m just mad at the things I can’t control.
Feel Better, Mom