Am I useful?

That is the unverbalized question I’m sensing from the 80-90+ folks with whom I live.  Particularly those in their 90’s who are contemplating the end of life, aware that their days may not feel particularly meaningful,  and wishing that death might arrive sooner.

“Why should I still be here?”  “What good am I?”  “Am I of any use to anyone?”   Continue reading

How many more birthdays?

Today was my birthday.  73.  Throughout the day I received lots and lots of good wishes and cards from my neighbors in this senior living complex.  I was mystified at the outpouring, until I discovered that the priest in daily Mass has a routine practice of announcing, and offering prayers for, the birthday person of the day.

Part of the outpouring included an exchange with two gentlemen, also January babies. Both had been honored among along with the other 15 of us at our monthly birthday party for residents. Both were in their mid 90’s,  20 years my senior.  Joe offered his wishes with great enthusiasm,  “Happy Birthday !  I hope you will have many more.  I’m in this life for as many as I can get.”  Jerry said, “Yes, and I wish you a Happy Birthday, too, but I don’t really want any more birthdays. I’ve had enough!” Continue reading

Deja vu, all over again

REHAB   (a poem written in 2005)

I

One, two, three, four

Plop, strain, stress, collapse

Five, six, seven, eight

Anger, anguish, years of tears

Nine, ten, eleven, twelve,

I made it!

II

Tears, tears, and more tears,

sooo hard, sooo frustrating

The gains so minute…

III

One, two, three, four

Start over anyway.

Today, 9 years later,  I’m sad and discouraged to note that the cycle is repeating.    I’m back here again. Part of me feeling strong in the areas that I’ve exercised over the years.  Part of me feeling weak and ashamed  that I neglected  other essential muscles.   Those feelings will be temporary, I’m sure.  I am starting over …with a new list of daily drills from the new physical therapist.  Yes, I’m starting over with the one, two, three, four.  And I can report that it doesn’t feel any better than it did so many moons ago…