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.

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