Thursday, February 3, 2011

So Little Time, So Much to Do

Funny how growing older changes ones outlook on things.  A few years ago, I was very lackadaisical in setting priorities and getting things done.  There was always tomorrow.  All of a sudden, I've become a senior citizen, and I wonder how many tomorrows I have left.  There is still so much I want to do...need to do, but I'm sure everyone feels that way.

In 2003, my best friend, Pat, died from Pancreatic Cancer.  She never smoked, didn't drink and took really good care of herself. But none of that mattered when the doctor delivered the diagnoses and gave her 6-9 months to live.  Watching her fade into a mere shadow of herself was more than I could stand. There was nothing I could say or do to make things easier, and often I felt that my being there and being healthy just didn't seem fair.  I didn't get to tell her goodbye because I didn't realize that tomorrow wasn't coming for her when I put off visiting one more day.  I miss her more than I can say. and I hope she knows how much she meant to me...still means to me because she's in my thoughts so often.

I've been giving a lot of thought to how much of my life I spend on the computer, blogging, emailing, promoting, etc..  This sedentary life is taking a toll so I really need to give some thought to what's important to me.  I've already resigned from book reviewing at Examiner.com, and I'm going to go no mail on most of the Yahoo loops that I only skim now.  I need to devote more time to my grandson, because if I have one goal before I leave this world, it's to see him kick Autism's butt! I really want to hang around as long as I can, if only for him.

I don't mean to sound maudlin, but turning sixty-five has really been much more depressing than I imagined it would be.  There's a difference between approaching a time when you'll be a card-carrying senior citizen and actually becoming one.  What happened to that thirty-five year old person I was just a few days ago? She's definitely not in the mirror anymore.  I've even forced myself to fill out a living will so no one will have to make decisions on my health care.  I don't plan on leaving anytime soon, but I've watched what my sons have gone through every time their dad wasn't expected to make it another day.  I never want to put them in the position of deciding whether or not to pull the plug.

I talked to my Mom today, and I really wanted to ask her if these kinds of thoughts occur to her.  Is she afraid of dying. Is her faith so unshaken that she doesn't question everything she's believed her entire life?  She just turned eighty-six in November and although I haven't seen her for a few years, she sounds full of energy and like the mom I remember when I was forty four and she was the age I am now.

I realize how depressing this blog is, but it's almost 3 A.M. and I'm fighting off a panic attack by sharing my innermost feelings with you.  So, I guess I'll try to go back to sleep and perhaps dream of something more cheerful.  I hope Heaven is all I picture it to be, and when my time comes, I'll find Pat waiting for me under the shade of a big tree where we can sit and catch up on old times. 

Now that I've totally depressed everyone...how prepared are you? Do you think about how much time you have left?  A wise person once said, "treat everyday like it's your last because you never know when it might be."

3 comments:

Lisabet Sarai said...

Ginger, hon,

We can't know when we're going to leave the earth, so we have to live every day as though it were our last. I had a dear friend die of ovarian cancer in 2002. She was 52. Watching her die taught me two things.

First of all, she was graceful and at peace at the end. She died at home, with her friends, family and pets nearby. It was a "good death". And I realized that as unjust as it seemed, that someone so young, lovely, intelligent and talented should be taken away, her death was a kind of final accomplishment, a gift to those who surrounded her.

Second, as they say, "don't postpone joy". I used to save things for the future - a new dress or pair of earrings, my "best" china. Now I understand that there's no point in waiting - we have to live life to the fullest every day. Another side of this realization - I'm not going to put up with crap that makes me unhappy, if I have any choice at all. And I understood that I had more choice than I'd realized. It just takes effort and courage to try and change things.

You're a strong, creative, and very funny woman. You give a lot to the world, on a daily basis. Try to look at your birthday as a challenge, a call to action - time to follow your dreams. My husband just turned 69. My closest aunt is going to be 89. It's just numbers. You're the same talented, feisty, gun-toting grandma today that you were yesterday.

You deserve to be happy.

Love,
Lisabet

Melissa Bradley said...

Big Hugs, Ginger! No one ever knows what time we've been given and living each day as fulfilling as we can is important. I never got to say good bye to my father because I didn't think I should call off work and yet, that day I was let go along with a few other people.

I'm getting panicky about my age because I feel like I'm no where, but someone told me that don't think about it in those terms. Appreciate what I have and look forward to more experiences.

I never got to say good bye to my father because I thought I'd have another day and went into work only to be laid off. I intended to go to the hospital, but he was gone.

You've still got a lot to give. You are a great writer and friend to all. Your blog gives me a lift even though I don't always comment.

Marva Dasef said...

My parents are 87 and 89. I keep expecting my father to just not wake up some morning. I think my mom will finish her coffee and crossword before calling us. She's getting worn out taking care of him.

That's the worst part of aging. When you've got even older people you have to care for.

As for my butt in chair, writing, net, blogs, etc., I wouldn't be doing anything else. When I retired, this was what I chose to do. Frustrating, tiring, maddening, yes. As for how much time I have left, I try to think it's just one hour. What do I want to do in that hour? Just what I'm doing right now.

You write so joyfully, I think you're probably doing exactly what you want. Don't think you have to garden, just because old ladies (excuse me) are supposed to garden, or cook, or knit, or anything else.

You're a writer, so write. And part of writing is this swirl of communication with your kindred writers.

Of course, spend as much time as possible helping your grandson KAB (kick autism's butt), and be sure to eat well and exercise. Other than that, you've earned doing what you want. I suspect it's this crazy author/publishing thing we're both doing.

And WOO HOO! You can get Medicare now!

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