Living to be 94

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My father-in-law always said he hoped he could live to be a hundred. He is now 89 and still in fairly good health. The only problem is that a couple of years ago he developed Alzheimer’s and is now confined to a care facility. As I think about him and others I find myself wondering whether growing old is really all that great. If you are one who is in good health perhaps it would be a good thing, but I believe the odds are stacked against that happening.  I have always said I don’t want to live to be real old. This poem expresses some of my sentiments.

Living to be 94

If I live to be 94

What friend would come knocking at my door

Being that they’d all gone before

Or maybe they came and I remember no more

Since those memories seem to go right out the door

Why would I want to be that old

Why would one want to be so bold

To out-live all my friends of old

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And spend my last doing what I’m told

Not a great option for me…

When death comes passing at 84

I just might hitch a ride while I am sure

That growing old appeals no more

When my only friend left is Arthur Itis

The world can surely do without us

Death, come grab me before 94

For I won’t want to be here anymore!

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Photos: Dwight L.

Waiting to Die

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Waiting with my wife’s mother as she came to the end of her life stirred many strong feelings. She had been diagnosed with a  terminal brain tumor ten months earlier. As I sat and reflected on her life and my life, I began to ponder the end of life. Some die quickly and others live on sometimes in chronic pain, while for others the pain may come from the emotional part of our being. This poem looks at the end of life stages and how they affect us.

Waiting to Die

Becoming obsolete is one of life’s most difficult burdens

It is not something that comes on quickly

But rather happens over a few years

When things once held dear are no longer valued by the next generation

It raises a turmoil of the soul that at first kicks and screams

But gradually subsides into a churning rumble

Only to be followed by a great dull ache

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Becoming physically challenged only adds to the burden

Our bodies slow down, wear out, won’t co-operate, get repaired,

Bounce back at times only to slowly head back down the slippery slope of time

That waits for no one but seems to careen wildly toward the cliff

This too raises the turmoil of the soul that at first kicks and screams

But gradually subsides into that churning rumble

Only to be followed by a great dull ache and a swell of physical pain

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Becoming physically and/or mentally disabled increases the burden even more

When one can no longer care for himself

Or have the strength to move about

Losing the memory to recall life’s joys and sorrows

Or that unwanted friend and companion arthritis moves in and out

One begins to wonder why he continues to go on living

Now it’s just a long dull ache, for the inner kicking and screaming now subsides

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Becoming totally dependent, sometimes unable to speak or function

Is probably the biggest burden of all

Long hours of little change of position or surroundings

Struggling for life with each difficult breath

Simply sitting or lying, waiting day after day

For the edge of the cliff to appear

Must make one wonder why some leave this world like the drop of a hat

While others continue on and on simply waiting to die

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But what of heaven and the future life to come

Surely that should make it all better

Surely that should ease the pain of separation and loss

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When all you know is the life you are living and the pain you are feeling

It is difficult to focus on what will come

In the present suffering one may understand what lies in store

But only feels the last pains of separation

From this earthly body into an immortal one

Safe in the arms of God