On Aging

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Billy Lee celebrates another year closer to death.

Aging is taking a toll on me. I had warning. Mom and Dad lost everything as they aged. It wasn’t what they expected.  

They imagined they’d lose some friends, have health issues, lose some mobility. They didn’t expect to lose their entire family, all their friends and all their power. They lost their beauty, their charisma, their common sense and, finally, their minds.

Mom & Dad open a present
Dad’s 85th birthday. Within eight years, both he and mom died.

One thing my dad tried was to keep his losses to himself. On some level he wanted to spare his children the fear of knowing; on another level he may have believed a positive attitude would lift up those people around him still left. But in the end futility seized him. He could no longer play golf or read or drive a car. He got depressed and took pills to keep going. Aphasia robbed his ability to speak.

My mom was devoted to my dad. Whatever he said or didn’t say was fine with her. She developed a brain disease that took her memories, short term and long, but she remembered Dad to the end. She never stopped asking where he went and when was he coming home.

grandpa dad clack two days before he died
Dad, forty-eight  hours before he died.

My journey down this tunnel to hell is just beginning. My kids want me to go quietly without complaint—no whimpering, no crying, no embarrassing emotional displays or theatrical grand-standing, like I do in my blog—whatever.

I’m not built that way.

Billy Lee

Click here for my Final Thoughts, before I leave for good, too.

4 Replies to “On Aging”

  1. Nah… whimp as much as you want. Just don’t be ornery and, since you’re in your sixties, you still have control over your words and actions.

  2. I was going to write something but thought better of it 🙂 Oh heck, you probably won’t remember anyway…you have been 85 years old for the last thirty years 😉

  3. Oh, Bill. This blog makes me cry. Nobody can guess how their life will end. One of the reasons I steer clear of psychics is that I do NOT want to know. Both of my parents had a tough time dying. I’ve deliberately not thought about my end, but it is becoming an issue that is not so easy to ignore anymore. Still, I try not to think about it.

  4. I have read this blog many times and each reading is sad. As a much younger man, I had to convince myself that I could live with whatever physical or mental condition that I ended up with. If I hadn’t, I couldn’t go out and do my job as a Marine in combat. As a caring person, I have convinced myself that the elderly don’t quite know how they appear to others and are happy in their own head. As a tribal elder, I feel the responsibility to demonstrate to those following that life is good, stay active, do those things that we can. Diminished skills and capacity have certainly changed my life, but I believe that I will enjoy it to the end because those things that seem important to others will be erased from my mind by the aging.

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