What If?

The morning opened somewhat like the evening before, cold, gray, rain making me feel unusually, uneasy, and unless the dawn breaks out into bright, golden rays of light, it will be difficult to shake the sensation I have. For now, as the raindrops hit the window and the gray holds strong, I will sit pensively.

Slowly, ever so slowly, the darkness turns to dawn. I can see the bricks that form the patio floor glisten from the rain and the distant houses begin to show on the horizon. My thoughts are as gray as it is outside. In addition, some of the concerns are about me; the grayness allows me to see how unsettled I feel about tomorrow. Question after question hit me swiftly, like the darts puncturing the surface of the board, each demanding solutions for the present and my future. I do not have those answers and I may never have them.

My questions, my thoughts, the concerns are dominated by my own aging and have developed by being the primary caretaker for my Mother and managing my Father’s care for the last year prior to his death. I watched and I watch as they each became more dependent for life care. Each was active until their early eighties and then their abilities changed drastically. My father never addressed how he felt about having two hired people living in his house and caring for, although, he did not say a lot the day I asked him for his car keys. My mother, on the other hand, is quite aware of the changes that she has experienced. She loves life and holds on to it with a will that few could equal, Even though her inner strength is strong, the reality of her life is now overwhelming to her. At times, when we talk I know she is struggling to keep her will. However, at the end of the day, before the exhaustion sets in, before their bodies are free to rejuvenate one day he knew and Momma knows that they are and were not alone. I am always there, my sister is not far away and M. has been constant in his vigil

And so,

I place myself in their shoes and I become very frightened. I shout to my self, very loudly and very clearly, that it will not be the same for me. I will be alone, I will not have a trusted family member next to me, and I will not have “trust”.

I have never liked being alone–

Suddenly the “what If’s” set in.

  • What if I have a debilitating stroke—
  • What if I have my father’s heart? By-pass surgery in my 80’s alone–
  • What if I am incontinent–
  • What if I cannot speak well or have a tracheotomy–
  • What if I cannot see well–
  • What if my memory becomes inconsistent–
  • What if death does not come speedily
  • What if
  • What
  • If

Yes, what if, what if you feel distrust,

What if you are alone?

Moreover, what if no one hears your plea?

What if?

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9 comments on “What If?

  1. Hey Frank. I appreciate you writing about the ongoing struggles. It is an effective way for you to not only to communicate to others, but to talk to yourself. I know in some psychology/anger management/ 12-step programs, they recommend that you sit down and write a letter to the person(s) that have hurt you. By transcribing the thoughts, we are better able to understand the emotions behind them.

    I also have a parent who is experiencing physical and psychological deterioration. It is an odd turnabout to go from the child to the parent, but it completes the cycle of live. Best of luck 🙂

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  2. Frank says:

    Johnny, I was just thinking about you and was out reading other blogs and returning to read your current post. Thanks for stopping by–Yes, that is why I think that I have a blog, and that is to write and sort out a lot of stuff that floats in my head. Come back again…….You are good at understanding!!

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  3. […] MySouthernHome wrote an interesting post today on What If?Here’s a quick excerptFor now, as the raindrops hit the window and the gray holds strong, I will sit pensively. […]

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  4. Jonas says:

    I would guess that all who enter old age alone confront these basic questions. How can we not?

    There are no answers. We can only hope…

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  5. croneandbearit says:

    Hi Frank – Your “Momma” is lucky to have you there with her. I notice you mention a sister, maybe you can grow old together? I have no family except my husband and statistically speaking I will outlive him. So, looks like I’ll be alone, too, one day. But, I try not to worry about that – I believe God will take care of me somehow, if I don’t give him too much lip in the meantime! Hugs to you Frank – Linda

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  6. Frank says:

    Jonas, thanks for visiting. yes i suppose overall you are right, in that there are no real answers. Yet, it becomes a real problem for the lonely. i don’t adjust, nor handle things well when I am alone–so I think!! Frank

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  7. Frank says:

    linda,
    i think all of us who are going to end up alone like you and i will just make a little commune and watch over each other. After thinking for moment we may have big commune with all of the people i have gotten to know and in the same way. Thanks for stopping bye. Frank

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  8. Frank
    The “What If’s” are without end…When my son was injuried in the military and then struck by a car, his head injury started my “what ifs”.
    I begged God to allow my son to stay here on this earth so that ” I would not be alone” (That was before my husband’s diagnosis)
    Somehow, I equated the loss of my son with being totally alone.
    The odds that my son will out live me are slim. With my husband’s cancer and with my son’s condition, I run the same odds of being alone in my later years as you, Jonas and Linda.

    But, after reading Linda’s comment, I like the sound of this little community.
    See, another answer to the “What Ifs” that we would have never imagined, or did we just do that. *smile*

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  9. lyndaspix says:

    What if…I’ve often wondered that myself. My “what ifs” are along a little different vein than yours right now, but I can see myself going to that place in the not-too-distant future.

    I like the community idea too, we take care of each other!

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