Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Falling Wednesday - Aging Isn't a Place for Sissies

For a number of Fridays back in 2015, I featured a Falling Friday series, featuring what I had learned in a falls prevention course I took in the summer of 2015.
This past Friday, I was able to talk briefly with a former neighbor whose father was our neighbor for over 25 years.   Remembering a man who was so generous, so giving, and so kind to my son, I wanted to repeat this blog about his late wife, who also suffered from dementia, and who was as good a person as they come.  Her death was fall related.  July 4 of this year was the sixth anniversary of her death.
Most of the following post was written in July of 2011, after the wife of my next door neighbor of many years passed away.

I dusted off the post in June of 2016, right after her husband turned 91. I only hope he knew it.

Why?

Because the last time I talked to my neighbor, he had no idea how old he was.  He has followed his late wife down the road of dementia.  Dementia took someone who was once a wonderful person and neighbor with it.  He still has some lucid days, but is under 24 hour care at home. He was put in a nursing home several months ago, because his caregivers could no longer give him the care he needed.

Fortunately, he has a large, loving family.

He's 92 now, and still with us.

Here is that post from July, 2011 updated in 2017:

Today at work, I heard that the mother of a co-worker had passed away.  When I went to the local online obituary, I saw a name I knew well.  Not the co-worker's mother, but a different woman.
It was my next door neighbor of over 20 years.

She had passed away yesterday, unbeknownst to me.  Her death was fall related.

I immediately called my spouse.  He already knew, and, in fact, had just come from the neighbor's house, where he visited with family for 40 minutes.  (I visited tonight, as out of town family started to arrive.)

Her husband....her widower....seemed to be taking it well.   He said to my husband "She died on the 4th of July.  She went out with a bang."

They had celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary less than a week ago.  In the last stages of dementia, she never knew it.

 I don't care what they say about old age.  It stinks.  It robs us of the essence of what we are.  Don't talk to me about the "golden years".  There is nothing golden about those years.  Those years took the mind and then the life of a wonderful woman, who was loved by everyone who knew her.  My neighbor was a deacon of her church.  She was a retired elementary school librarian.   She did a lot of charity work.  She raised six children and at least, tonight, her husband is surrounded by their very large family. (Her husband was an only child and wanted a large family very much.  He got it, thanks to her.)

She loved romance novels.  She had hundreds of them, and she kept trying to give some to me.  She was an avid reader. She loved to have her grandchildren over to visit.

She spent so much of the last couple of years of her life a prisoner of her living room chair.  Her husband, once a telephone lineman, aged at her side.  He told me, tonight, that "I am happy".  We talked to their youngest son [the man I blogged about on Saturday], and he talked about her death.  It was a good death.  About two weeks ago, her voice became very slurred. Then she stopped eating. Then she stopped drinking.  She drifted away, asleep almost all of the time.

She died surrounded by the ones she loved, at home.

Her husband has also has a lot of health problems.    I don't want to say it out loud, but I fear for him now.

They were so much younger and full of energy and love of life when I first met them.  So was my mother in law, and my spouse's aunt who is (in 2017) age 105, and my good friend's mother, passed away in 2013 at age 94.

Like all of us, I must come to terms with my aging.   I may be looking at my eventual fate.  And perhaps that is what is affecting me now, as much as the passing of a woman great in her own way.

As Bette Davis once said "Old age is no place for sissies."

I hope you will join me, starting next Wednesday, for Falling Wednesday.

Day 12 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge #blogboost.

8 comments:

  1. My mom had Alzheimer's and it's such a cruel illness to watch with loved ones. My mother in law will be 100 in September and while her mind is sharp her mobility is failing. Not sure what category I'll be in.

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  2. Getting old is all about quality of life. Being propped up in a chair and not knowing where I am, who my family is or what year it is is not worth it in my opinion. But that is just me.

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  3. I also hate old age and watching those we love being taken. As I sit her and read this I kept picture my mother in law and father in law. As well as my father who I will be going to see tomorrow. As well as myself who will be 52 this year. As all I want is for us to remain happy and healthy forever so we can watch my son who is 9 grow up.

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  4. Hi,
    I love your headline. People say 50 is the new 30. I read a response with which I agree-- with a lot of help.
    Janice

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  5. Alzheimer's is not a foregone conclusion--that is, there are plenty of people who age without getting it. It's sad for those that do end up with it. But you don't need to look at that future and see yourself there.

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  6. So sad! I find getting older to be a bit scary. Your life can change very quickly.

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  7. This is a lovely post...old age is really not for sissies..looking forward to falling Wednesday

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  8. Wow, thank you for sharing the life of this great couple. The fact that they lived so long is amazing to me. Anyone over 80 to me is amazing. Most our family passes around or before they turn 80.
    Aging is definitely NOT for sissies but it does have benefits. Grandchildren.
    Disease of aging is devastating especially dementia.
    (Fall? do you live in Australia?)

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