When? he asked. When does middle age end and old age begin?

"When" he asked, " when does middle age end and old age begin?"

It took awhile to recover from his question.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

It's Been A Year, Quite a Year.

Of course they all are. But THIS of all years, has told me I am on the down hill slope.  I have wondered when I reached life's peak and began the downhill side of life's journey.

That summit is not clear- was it 40 or 45 years of age? Was it when my kids left home for good? Was it when  as a couple, we agreed that proximity during the night was no substitute for a good night's rest. I can't really say and I think back to Callum who first asked me the question of when middle age ends and wonder if perhaps he, in his youthful wisdom knows.

I met my now settled, youngest son's true love last year. It was so rewarding to know he had found her and they were committed to each other. My first grandchild graduated from university and is employed in a field that inspires him. My second grandchild was born just a second over a year ago. My baby sister, truly a mature and competent woman but  perpetually a child in my eyes, recently married. The joys of life  have been mine.

We were called to visit the Coast in the spring of  2014. We spent time with my youngest son and also with my mother. It was a good visit but she was unwell. I knew she wasn't saying all and I wasn't asking. We travelled to the Island and saw my first friend;my dear cousin, and shared a meal with her parents and her younger sibling, my incredible cousin and his fine wife. This fellow, remembered mostly by me as the smart quiet redheaded kid, is now a retired man.

The most poignant moment of the trip came after a very convivial evening. We walked my Aunt and Uncle to their truck and waved them off. We were sure it would be the last time we would see the pair of them, our home being so far away. And it was. My Uncle died August 15th, the day my baby sister married the man she has been waiting for. My Auntie tells me she is doing well and I hope it is so.

My mother's journey to eternity was short. An return trip West saw me at her bedside. I shepherded her from Oncology to palliative care, to hospice in little over a week. I rested my head on my baby sister's shoulder as we cried buckets. I kissed my mother good bye and left her with my sister to finish her journey. My unfinished business, no longer of any consequence. Some things we aren't meant to know. In her independent way, my mother left me behind and died five days after assuring me I could  leave her.  My shock at her death was the realization that my grief and indeed all grief truly is about those left behind. My grief is and was, selfish. It is about what I have lost, what I no longer have, what I miss and what I long for. My Mother and my Uncle are gone. Both in their time having accomplished much and lived fully, they were accepting and and ready. It is me who  rails for what I have lost.

There are 365 days in most years. Odd really, my 365 last days have held various couplets. My mother died on my deceased Mother-in-Law's birthday. My Brother-in-law passed on the day of my Mother's funeral and our Uncle, on my Sister's wedding day. My new Grandson was born 2 days before my birthday, just as I was born 2 days before my own Grandmother's birthday.

In little over a year I have held and hugged and said good bye to the people of my childhood. I have seen a son launched in life and love, welcomed a grandchild, seen another set foot on the path of adulthood.  It has been quite a time, quite a time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Moss agate

 I cannot see my eyes. Odd really, but there it is.  If I don't have my glasses on there isn't a hope of seeing what is in the mirror. What is there before me is so indistinct as to be recognizable as an eye but NOT 'my eye or eyes.'

Like many other youngsters-I assume, I spent hours gazing into the mirror looking at my eyes. I can recall being banished from the bathroom counter for spending too long looking at my seven year old eyes. There were the infinite  images captured between the triple mirrors as I positioned myself  to "make up my eyes" in my youth. With age my fleeting reflection was caught in mirrors and puddles,lakeside and in the eyes of my sons and lover. But somewhere over time the ability to actually look into my own was lost to me.

A 10x magnifier attached to the bathroom mirror to capture the random whiskers of the post-menopausal age recently changed all this. Glasses on, positioned just so- to avoid distortion, I can once again look into my aging eyes and see.  And what I saw was moss agate. Huh! My eyes  are not grey, nor green, nor even blue. They for all the world, look like moss agate.

Friday, March 13, 2015

On this day, I say:

I always intended to head this blog with a favourite picture from a  road trip. It shows the view going down a long  gradual  incline. Because it always seemed that that's what aging would be, a gradual incline. Sometimes though, you find yourself free wheeling down the road maybe  pulled into the invisible slipstream, pulled along with ever increasing speed with no desire to hit the brakes to back off and let them race on.

Once  coming through the mountains of BC many years ago, I saw a family picnicking. A classic bucolic scene so ordinary as to be trite. Wicker hamper and plaid blanket, man and woman with small child, boot of the car open and a vista of highway and a swiftly flowing river with a backdrop of snow capped mountains they, the family appeared so ordinary and unaware. Their choice of picnic site not an abandoned roadway or wayside  as they may have imagined but, a run away lane.

Sometimes life is a picnic.