Some of Us Die the Slow Death of Old Age

It has been a hard nine months since my hands began to hurt. It is my only reason for not blogging regularly. I had surgery on my wrist and thumb on July 10th for the arthritic conditions that have kept me from writing and commenting on the blogs I follow. I haven’t even felt like hitting the “like” button. Needless to say, my other hand has had to overcompensate for the crippled hand and it too has the same condition but not quite as bad. Yesterday the doctor said I can now begin using my hand. So here goes…..I will peck out the following…..

Ahhhh, old age….what good can come of it but death.

Speaking of old age and all its glory, I just returned from a visit with my mother who was admitted into a nursing home because her husband is too frail to take care of her. They live a thousand miles from where I live. It makes it hard on aged bones to travel such a distance, especially by car. I know the next trip will be by plane.

My mom has dementia. It is a terrible disease of the brain. It not only affects her but all who are around her. The worst part for her is that she is constantly on the precipice of knowing something is wrong with her, teetering on the edge of full surrender. I call her twice a day when I can. In those first weeks of acclimating to her new surroundings and new faces, she would tell me, “I don’t belong here with these crazy people. Who put me here?” And in her childlike voice she would ask, “Am I in here forever?” Words that would rip at any daughter’s heart.

I wish I could say that my mother will get better but the sad fact is she is getting worse. Everyday will take one more cell, more of her past, more of her today, and finally her tomorrow. It does not help that my mother has had multiplesclerosis since her early twenties. She has always battled forgetfulness. The MS has not affected her like it has so many others…like my cousin who was a quadriplegic from the same disease. She has had blindness, double vision, and weakness on one side of her body that has flared throughout her lifetime. She has been blessed by not having to cope with more crippling symptoms like my cousin did. I wonder if it is a better blessing to not know anything; that one day when she stares blankly into my eyes and does not know my name that she will be at peace with no questions at all.

Mom has always asked about how the family is doing, who is how old, where are they now, etc….She never leaves Brandon out. I no longer tell her that he beat all of us into Heaven. I just tell her that Brandon is fine. In my heart I know he is more than fine. Better than all of us who are dealing with life and its trials and pains. He will never have to hear me ask the questions my mother has asked me.

I have always cut and styled my mom’s hair since I became a hairstylist 30 years ago. I took my scissors, make-up, and nail polish and did a “mom make-over” as I have always loved doing many times in the past. My hand/wrist was still in the temporary brace that I was wearing right after surgery. Through the pain I managed to make my mom look better than what she looked like when I first arrived at the nursing home. I couldn’t help but wonder if I was looking into my own future as I held her arthritic hands in place with my own crippled hands, as I painted her nails Sparkly Mauve. Life has a way of presenting its not so subtle foreshadows.

I have pondered so many things in the past six years; life and death and everything in between. My mind is raging with questions that will never be answered while in this life. Even though I know this, it does not keep me from asking. Meanwhile, God is patient with me. I am glad to experience Him on a very personal level as it should be for all who want to know Him. I grapple with my grief, the grand question of WHY (I don’t believe people who say they never ask why), my physical pain, others who are in pain, my family’s problems and pains, my unfulfilled expectations, disappointments, knowing that there is an end to it all one day and that I don’t have to have answers. I just need to trust God. I guess having the answers will never really solve anything. It won’t bring my son back to me. It won’t take away my mother’s diseases. It won’t cure my hands. So, I ask….what will having the answers really fix? Did I just ask another question?

Ahhhh, old age….what good can come of it but death.

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10 thoughts on “Some of Us Die the Slow Death of Old Age

  1. Dale,

    I feel for you-my mother suffered a brain aneurysm, that at one point, left her confused about the present time. She asked me how her Mom and Dad were doing-who had long ago gone to Jesus. I was so very sad when our “roles” were reversed. A second burst aneurysm during surgery to repair the first, left her unable to speak for a long while. I’m not sure which condition was worse…

    I believe that if we did not suffer with aging-no one would have desire to exit…ala “A bird in the hand, is worth two in the bush.”

    As I’ve aged-physically, it’s been the pits. But my Spirit has grown so much, and my edges softened so much-I feel I’ve therefore become much more “malleable”-and useful to the Lord (At least that’s “my” take on it!)

    Asking “Why” for me, was a “necessary waste of time.” It gave me a psedo-closure of sorts-to finally conclude, “I’ll never know in this life, so I’ll just have to trust God-that He knows what He’s doing-even if I completely disagree with His Plan A!” I’m so thankful though…that God ALWAYS has a possible Plan B ready in the “wings”….!

    Praying for your continued hand healing!

    Much love to you and
    Brandon Bear!

    Donna

  2. Dale – it so lovely to see your words here again. And while I could waffle on and add my own, one thing always works better … ((((((hugsssss)))))) 🙂

  3. Dale, I must agree with something Donna said: “I believe that if we did not suffer with aging-no one would have desire to exit.”

    I’m facing 65 this year, and each year brings additional aches and pains. And while I haven’t experienced your suffering, my friend, I have learned if I don’t focus daily on my Lord, and pray His love and shines through me, I’d be headed for the end much sooner.

    Before I became a believer, I was afraid of death. Now that I anticipate and appreciate what’s on the other side, the fear is gone. I know Who will greet me on my final day, and know the warmth and peace His arms will bring. Whether this body will be gone or healed or transformed, I cannot fathom; I’m only certain my eyes and heart will meet His in a shower of love.

  4. I wholeheartedly agree! Suffering makes us want to leave this place. I am not afraid of death. As my last statement testifies. “Ahhh, old age…what good can come of it but death.” Jesus awaits….and so does my Brandon. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing and caring….

  5. If all is well with your soul then it holds no fear huh? The process is not so fun sometimes as we age is it? I am blessed with good health but at 53 I am feeling it some. Blessings to you

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