After writing this Haiku, I thought about this time of Covid and how many stepped up to serve and help others even at risk of their own lives. The front line workers shone brightly while all around many were dying every day. Thank you to all who stood in the gap during this challenging time.
I don’t fear death; I fear living… too long! Some drop and are gone, others take longer to leave this world. Lingering is a fearful word in this old man’s vocabulary. Lingering often comes with losing control, as dementia sets in. Loss of memory, loss of driving privileges, loss of physical abilities to function without help all come with different levels of fear. And then there is pain. Chronic pain is very real to many, both young and old. It changes how we live and function.
I watched my father-in-law as he gradually developed Alzheimer’s disease. It was so hard to give up his keys to his car. But, not remembering where his car was parked, or how to navigate across the city of Edmonton, made driving too risky for him. When his wife developed a brain tumor, he had to move to a care facility, which involved more loss and now separation. It was extremely sad to see this happen. Even in the best of settings life was no longer memorable for him.
Fear of living on and on and out of control is my greatest fear. I try not to think about it or obsess over it, but it constantly shadows the recesses of my mind.
Living well for now
Aging brings new challenges
Life becomes fearful
Photo: Dwight L. Roth
Today at d’Verse, Frank Tassone asked us to think about our fears. This seems to be the season of the year when fright and fear are celebrated in some circles. Spooky ghosts and goblins are nothing compared to the real fear of living in pain or life out of control.
Thanks to my friend, David’s, post for stimulating these thoughts:
This week my childhood friend and his wife lost their middle-age son to cancer. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a child. As I share in their sorrow, I wanted to share this poem that I have posted a few times before. It expresses my understanding of what it is like to pass on from this life to the next.
The old man lay on his death bed waiting for his last breath. Only his wife of sixty years remained with him in this lonely hour.
“We have had a great life together,” Catherine whispered to him as his eyes opened and then closed.
The old man half smiled and tried to nod his head.
“I will miss you my dear, but your time has come to cross over.”
Catherine’s mind wandered as she contemplated his passing…
“Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.”
“As your soul becomes one with the universe, the thought of beginnings and endings will be no more. The spirit of creation will carry you into the joy of your existence; beyond all that you could ask or think!”
His breathing became more shallow. She held his hand, as John drew his last breath.
“You know,” he mused, “Some folks don’t believe there is a God. They get all tangled up with religion and theological arguments about who is right and who is wrong, and miss the bigger picture.”
Grandpa always did have a unique perspective on life. He was wise beyond his years, but only shared his wisdom if asked.
“Aren’t your afraid of catching Covid and dying,” I asked?
“You know son, there are a lot worse things in living than in dying. Death is knocking on all of our doors!”
“I believe there is a God who is the source of all life, and that my life will continue on long after this old pain-ridden body is gone.”
I thought about what he said, as he continued, ‘We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time’.
“God’s Love is eternal!”
Painting By Dwight L. Roth
Today at d’Verse, Kim is having us do Prosery. This is when we write a prose piece of flash fiction (144 words) that includes a random line form a poem she chooses for us. She gave us this line from the D. H. Lawerence poem, Hummingbird: ‘We look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time’.I decided to write my piece as a conversation.
Today a lone monarch visited my flowers, sucking out the last drops of nectar. I was excited to see it, since I didn’t see any all summer. The Yellow and Black Swallowtails were here, but no Monarchs. I got my camera and snapped away, as it enjoyed what is left of my Zinnias.
Summer has finally come to an end, and a lot of my flowers grew fungus and mildew on their leaves. The leaves deteriorated and dried up starting at the bottom and going up. But, with a couple of late summer rains, and a little watering from my rain barrels, my Zinnias continue to grow. I also have been cutting off seed heads as the flowers petals fall off. This stimulates them to keep putting out new buds. Although the bottom half of the stem looks dead the top continues to bloom. Some have now reached a height of almost eight feet! I see beauty in the flowers and also in the drying stems and leaves. It reminded me of the stages of life we all go through and that beauty can always be found even as we age and come to the end of life.