As the saying goes, getting older is not for the weak. I am finding that statement to be one of the most truthful statements I have ever heard. As I look through the postings on social media, I see people who are ill, depressed, lost, depleted and grieving. That names just a few of the human conditions being dealt with on a daily basis. My heart breaks for my friends who are suffering.
I am sitting here right now contemplating the latest of many losses already this year. Prince. I was a huge fan back in the day and his loss is weighing heavy. But it is not just him, it is all of the loses I have endeared in this life. There are days I wake up and my first thought is that I am going to call my mother today. Well, I cannot do that because she went to heaven several years ago along with my father and my sister. But I would do anything to hear her voice and get her advice one more time.
I am blessed that I do believe in Heaven and believe that I will see them again, but for those days when the heaviness of loss is almost unbearable, that time cannot come soon enough. I took my loved ones for granted. I never dreamed that they would ever be gone. Yet, they are and the loss is epic all these years later.
That is not to say that one cannot experience loss at a young age. There are so many young people hurting from their loss suffered in childhood or young adulthood. Loss is not, by any means, gifted only to the older. I realize that, but I am personally getting older and that is where my particular viewpoint focuses.
So add the new aches and pains of older age, the possibility for accidents and disease, the questionable future of retirement and the uncertainty (which again crosses all age lines) of this political future we are all looking at and getting older stings a little more. Yes, it is better than the alternative, but it still hurts.
Getting older has some advantages. I enjoy the wisdom I have now that was completely nonexistent in my younger years. The filters now work on my mouth much better than before. I have deeper understanding and empathy for others now. Those are just a few of the blessings that come with age. Most days, you can see those positives and put the negatives out of the picture for a day or however long. But the losses never really go away, do they? You never quite stop missing the parent, sibling, family member or friend. You even miss the celebrities you never met. I see a picture of Princess Diana and I feel remorse to this day. I hear Stevie Ray Vaughn and my heart skips a little beat. That is all part of being human.
I am happy that as I age, I do not feel the overwhelming need to rush at everything I do or to do every single request that comes my way. I have learned to say “No” as a complete sentence. That was unheard of as a young person. My back hurts now and I have a garden variety of other ailments that come with getting older. The once broken heart has mended a bit and appears to still be working, and that is a good thing. To add insult to injury, I now pee a little when I cough, laugh or sneeze, I pass more gas, my favorite foods give me heartburn and the reflection in my mirror is unrecognizable at times. As my mother used to say sarcastically, “More fun.”
The reason, in my mind, why aging is not for the faint of heart is because burying pain and angst is no longer an option as when you were younger. When I was younger I could make myself so busy those thoughts never entered my mind. Now in the dark silence of the many sleepless nights I encounter, the reality comes to the forefront and stays there. There is no dismissing it or moving on. Age seems to make you deal with it, sometimes once and for all and sometimes over and over.
We all will deal with things that make us wonder about that alternative that is so much worse than this, but in the end we should all be glad for each new sunrise we see and each day we get to say “I love you” to those important people who are left. I think for today I will stand in the Purple Rain and let it wash my tears of sadness away.
Tomorrow is another day I hope to see. If I do, it will have its share of pain and sorrow, but lets hope yours and mine are gifted with some peace and lots of love. That is all we can ask for.