Self-Care Tip #141- Live and live despite the loss. Be a friend to yourself.
The other day, my hair was barely pinned back in a knotty mass, when I arrived at clinic late with my house slippers still on. I didn’t realize this of course until I heard this flapping sound echoing behind me as I hooned down the hall. Distracted by myself, I seemed to suddenly come upon an old man. He was lovely really, wrinkled, clearly handsome in his day, shuffling my same direction, and also in his house slippers. It was less than a second when I took this all in and I suddenly felt very self-conscious. Not awkward for the normal reasons that I should have been, like my nappy appearance, but I’ve never really thought I was “normal.” No, I felt rude. I’m much more sensitive to rude than ugly.
Do the younger seem rude to the older? There with their supple joints, perky bodies and minds, hope, and shorter medication lists? I felt rude. Rude combined with awkward is not something most people are comfortable looking at, which is what I unfortunately offered up to this innocent man. Walking fast felt wrong. Not sure what to do, I sort of slowed, yet my tardiness to clinic didn’t let my gait relax. Giving an uncertain smile, I managed not to make eye contact when I said “Hi there,” lest the eye contact lead to further tardiness. Then off I galloped, luckily for both of us, only 3 doors down.
I didn’t spend more than a few seconds with that stranger, yet remember well what he symbolized for me. I remember him when I get grumpy about not being able to eat as much as I did 10-years ago. When I get resentful with my feet, (a size and a half HUGER since I had my first kid,) I see his lordosis (hunched back often from a collapsed spine.) I wonder how he is doing with his losses.
There’s not much romance in growing old. What is romantic is a beautiful person, who has been real with their losses and with the joys of life that are still available to them. There’s no point in my denying that I can’t have cereal and pasta every day any more. There’s no point in being angry about it. I’ll just eat slower and force, er, I mean find more pleasure out of what I do eat.
I like to think that the old man in the hall made his and makes his peace with losses and is more glad than not for his life. If so, maybe he was ok with my fast pace when he couldn’t. Maybe it makes him more comfortable in a world in which he is becoming more and more of a stranger. That is something to admire. That is something that is worthy of life’s privilege.
After yesterday’s blog-post, a reader said it quite fine,
I did not know depression was progressive. That’s depressing. As is the realization that aging is progressive. …On the other hand I can say I’ve had 61 more Christmas times than a new-born and perhaps that makes it worth it!
Question: What losses are you struggling with? How do you come to terms with your losses? Please tell me your story.
Try to understand “non attachment” by Eastern religions( oh sure, they don’t have anything in the first place). Remember when I had to start over with everything I owned in a 1972 Olds Cutlass and a yellow lab dog and did OK without and felt free and unburdened . Read and remember Necessary Losses, Judith Viorst, 1987. PS 61st Christmas.
i hear some sarcasm! 😉 merry Christmas sage Carl. thank u for commenting. i’ll have to chk that out. where can i find it?
Pingback: Tweets that mention Live And Live Despite The Ongoing Loss « A Friend to Yourself -- Topsy.com
Sana, I cannot begin to tell you what it means that you happened to write this post on Christmas Eve…the night we kept vigil by my grandpa in the hospital and he died. I feel heavy with loss and grief, for our loss of Grandpa and for the hurt my mom is feeling right now. Christmas yesterday was surreal…moments of joy with my children, and then as quick as the wink of an eye, finding ourselves all in tears again. Balance. Coming to terms, or trying to, with loss.
He was a man of courage that night. When faced with the choice of having a ventilator put in or not, he did not make his four children make the decision—he gave a clear answer with all of his strength: no, he did not want it, and yes, he knew he was going to die. I got to say to him the things I wanted to say… We waited as a family, though I did not see the moment of his passing as I had to take my children home. He died with his four surviving children around him, and from what I have heard so far, it sounds like it could not have been more beautiful or peaceful.
Yet I find myself picturing him at his home, still. And then I remember…
I also really relate to the quote from your reader in this post about aging being progressive. My very “cheerful” thought as I thought about everyone I love yesterday was, “Wow, I’ve got to watch them all die, too. There is so much sadness in store…” It kind of gets to me when I really start thinking about how, looking at it one way, life is all about loss. I guess that is why I can’t look at it that way for too long…We have to find the joy or perish in the sadness.
blessings on u n your family. hugs
i’ve had those same thoughts before! many times in fact about fear of the losses that agin has in store for me – mainly deaths or serious demise of the lives of family. my husband, who works in palliative care, has helped me see death as something different. i can’t say it without being a cliche though. hugs dear u. keep on.