I wish I could have one more conversation with loved ones now gone. I wish I could tell them that only now do I understand the swiftness of the passing of time. I know that as we pray for the blessing of living a long life, we don’t really understand the complexity of what it is we are praying for. What age is old age anyway?
I imagine the younger generations may think the 50’s and 60’s are old, 70’s definitely old, and the 80’s well, they are just about ready for their dirt bed.
I have never felt old in the true sense of the word. Even as I type this, my spirit is ageless, of no particular age, and certainly NOT old. This is not a case of denial. It is simply not something I think about unless I read about the passing of a good friend, or a hospitalization of a contemporary, or when I visit a friend in a memory unit. Oh yes, this always gets my attention!
As I glance at my reflection in the mirror, I can see the passage of time. When one is young, we spend a leisurely amount of time in front of the mirror, primping and grooming and enjoying our reflection. These days, at most, the mirror only gets a glance. No point in reminding my youthful spirit of the aging body it resides in. My spirit looks outward into the world and as it does it takes on the energy of those who surround me. What older person does not enjoy being surrounded by young people where we can bask in their presence in all their vibrant energy?
I wonder how life would be if we did not mark time. Every year we celebrate our birthday and people sing and wish us well.
“Wow! You are 5! You get to go to school!”
“Yay! You are 16. You get to drive!”
“You are 21! You are an adult now so you can vote!”
And so it goes….and then we reach that birthday 62 or 65. Retirement! Who ever invented that word anyway? It was Del Webb during a Marketing Campaign back in the 60’s in Arizona. Previously, it was not uncommon for people to die in their 60’s not long after obtaining social security. Del Webb was intent on selling houses to the older generation and they needed a dream to sell along with them. They sold the dream of the “golden years” and golf going hand in hand! They were surprised by how well received their new concept was. People liked the idea of living in the golden years verses the olden years. A new type of community was hatched.
Some of us get to blow out 70 candles! Even in our own minds, we can no longer fool ourselves into thinking that we are still young and we cannot ignore the ticking of the clock.
When we hit 80 people may say, “Isn’t he/she amazing, still so active and ALERT? “ (Oh dear, that word alert!!)
The very few who hit their 90’s and are blessed to have loving family are applauded and fawned over and well tended like a flower in a greenhouse. Sadly, there are others who are among the invisible, left behind by most everyone they once knew due to moves, bad health or death. They are the ones who are called the survivors…the tough bunch who have miraculously survived life’s toughest challenges.
Memorial Day is actually a day set aside to honor our military who fought and died to defend our country. Through the years, people began to also honor their other loved ones who have passed as well. Remembering those we have loved and honoring them is a heartwarming experience and a good reminder that life has an ending here on earth and that we should make the most of each and every day.
Our parents graves are in the far north country of the U.S. and we live in the far south, so each year on Memorial Day, we have our own private memorial in our courtyard where we come out and sit and reflect on their lives and what they have meant to us. We miss them but we are happy they got to live long lives and then left the troubles of this world behind. It nice to know that they now live eternally in the most beautiful of places. There are certainly worse things than death in old age.
Our courtyard plantings were eviscerated by the dramatic and destructive 5 day snow and ice storm in February of 2021. Many of these plants behind our angel are replacements for what died. Even plants have an end game, but as I watch the new plants reach to the sky I am reminded that even as WE leave this earth, we too leave behind newly planted offspring who will grow to fill our place in this world. The wheel of life continues, no matter what!