I remember how my mother used to light up when I came from Canada to California to visit her at the private home for seniors where she lived with 5 or 6 other people of her age. Because my mom was not especially social or outgoing, always very pleasant and personable, but seldom seeking friendship, especially as she aged, she didn’t really have anyone other than the caretakers with whom she was especially fond or with whom she was connected.
I had that feeling in the pit of my stomach this morning when I was walking with Aimee at the cemetery. Do you remember being a kid and feeling sick in your tummy and just wanting mommy or daddy or to be home? Do you remember what it felt like to feel homesick? Sick for the feelings of belonging, for the familiar, for what you could understand and count on? It wasn’t always great at home. Sometimes it was even scary. But it had become familiar. It was yours. Day in and day out, it was what you saw and felt and knew and heard and remembered. It was all you had.
Ah yes! Time, a gift for the aging: the mysterious, murderous, miracle of time. Time to rest, time to think, time to grieve, time to hope, time to remember, time to do things and say things there wasn’t time for when younger. Today I have time and it isn’t really feeling a lot like a gift. It feels more of a burden. Today the message to myself is that I best use my time well because it will run out eventually. So I listened to music and heard Elvis Presley singing Love Me Tender. Dear god in heaven, Carl and I danced to that music when we were in our 20’s. That was so long ago.
One of the hidden blessings of aging is time. On the one hand, one could say time is running out. I no longer have 60 years ahead of me to accomplish my heart’s deepest dreams. On the other hand, I no longer have babies and chauffeuring and pediatric appointments and children’s home work, evening baths and hockey, dance lessons, planning, shopping, preparing and cleaning up for meals to feed 4 or 6 or 8 or however many there might be on any particular evening for dinner. I just have me.
I’ve written about feeling content in the past. I went through a few years when I totally forgot what content felt like. I remember emailing my dear friend Dawn in Michigan and asking her on the whole how did she feel about her life. And she said CONTENT.
Whew, boy!! It has been a while since I have written. About time I put on paper what is whirling around in my head.