Getting old kind of creeps up on you. Today I saw my old boss passing by my window, helped by her husband. She looked so frail, this woman who was a powerful personality when she was the night charge nurse. As I watched her pass, I remembered how robust she always looked, with her fixed ideas of how a good nurse should be.
She was old school, and we often crossed swords, when she would demand, for example, that an elderly patient should sleep with two pillows. What I will say though, is that she loved her family. I am the same age she was when she retired from nursing, and I suddenly had the realisation that I too will grow old, perhaps depending on another to help me along the road.
Nature plays a cruel trick on all of us; getting old is not something that we consider, until we are old. I have recently lost a few friends, and this impacted on me more than when my parents died. I was suddenly faced with my own mortality, but still the illusion of still having plenty of time to do everything I always wanted to drives me forward.
I can’t imagine not having friends to call, or meet for lunch, and even though my head knows that I too will be carried feet first out of my dwelling, it isn’t something that preoccupies me to any great extent.
Having a belief in the after life can be very comforting, believing that all of my family and friends will be there to meet me, when my final whistle is blown. But that also raises other questions for me; will my mother like me in heaven, even though we didn’t get on in this life? Are we partitioned into family groups, having no contact with old friends, and will I need to sit next to my younger brother, who is very violent and self centred? Will I find out why certain events in my life didn’t work out, or will I be too happy sitting on my cloud to worry about those sort of things?
Philosophers have agonised over these questions for time immemorial, and many schools of thought and religions have emerged as a way of making sense of these eternal questions around the meaning of life. The only thing I am sure of, is that as long as I have breath in my body, I will choose to keep moving forward.