The Number 69

Sixty-nine arrived on the fifteenth of this month.
It will remain for another three hundred and sixty-four days.
It gave me an unwanted bolt of reality…one not to ignore.

As an adult, a birthday and another year passing was a usual happening.  I even enjoyed birthday presents!  Then, after the one major event which struck out at me seemed to change my world.  I began to feel I was on some precipice scratching for a twig that would steady a slippery slide.  The twig’s hold worked for many months.  Then to my exasperation,  a collection of deleterious ills happened to me.  I thought I had let go of the twig and landed in a huge cup and saucer.  The cup and saucer sat  on a spinning circle that slowed only for a second.  As it slowed, another little lifetime ill had occurred .

I often think–

At fifteen you pine for freedom so that you can do as you wish.
At 20 life cannot hurt you when you meet it head on fearlessly.
At 40 your career blossoms and you smile and count your money!
When 50 rolls around they say you are over-the-hill!  Stupid–
And the next decade begins a slow spiral own to the number 69.
The future is something akin to a crap shoot….Some Win and Some Lose.

Maybe now it is the time for bit more thought:

  • Norman Cousins–
    The tragedy of life is not death but what we let die inside of us while we live.
  • Robert Frost–
    The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”
  • Me–
    Sometimes to soak myself in my tears and fears, I find that even misery can bring strength back to the mind.
  • John Scalzi—
    The problem with aging is not that it’s one damn thing after another—it’s every damn thing, all at once, all the time.
  • Linda Robinson—
    I have to start loving what comes next and stop hating I won’t be a part of it.
  • My Mother—
    To look backwards  does no good, look forward to Tomorrow and what it may bring.

Today, one hour, a couple minutes and

On any day, during every hour, within a few minutes an action, word or even a glance at you can change life can change and when it does you poignantly feel a loss for “the way it was”. Major changes will remind you that life has no guarantees. Regardless how minor the change you know that you will never feel the same as you did.

Today, one little phrase, “a small mass needs a biopsy.” I wasn’t so gravely shocked, nor in the first minutes did I break down. An image of my destiny has been a part of me for a long time.

Can the Ball Ever Change Courts for Me


Many, many years have passed in my life.  Much of my behavior, my ways of dealing with life have stayed the same and I never believe a person can change his existing  behavior.  It is because of my belief, at sixty-five I question if the ball in the game  I play can ever change to a  better court?  Unfortunately, we form at an early age without an opportunity to decide our own basic building blocks  nor are we able to question or control our progress.

Each night I vow that tomorrow offers another chance.   I list all my uncontrollable actions and face them truthfully.   I certainly am not stupid.  I know that every glob of food I eat, that is not part of pure sustenance,  allows me to gain another pound.  Each year since 1995 I have lost the struggle for thinness .  Each year the scale goes up and then it goes down, yet over that period of years I still go up and up.  Pre-1995 was a period of awakening to everything.  It seemed easier to hold my weight within a very small window of change.

My bingeing, once controlled to some degree, now stalks me every hour of the day and many hours in the night.  I feel me.  I know what is going on inside and outside of me.  I understand  good, the bad and now the ugly that has rolled in!!  My vows at night do little good.  By the time I get up a few hours later I forget there ever was a vow to control me.  It is just after this time that I am aware of what little control I have over myself.  I realize the wanting, vowing, and failing  periods cycle continually and “eat” up whatever psychological energy I may have left.

To let me take my journey without thought will only lead me to a disaster from which I can not return.

I understand fully what “disaster” may mean.  I understand, yet continue on as I am.

It is to clear that the ball will never ever change courts for me.

I  am my enemy!

The Rate of Time

If I am not attentive, the days pass too quickly for certain things and others pass like a snail.  Yesterday, I realized a second week had passed, both of which I spent working on a watercolor.  I looked at the painting, reflected on its imagery, understood the work needs patience and clarity as I paint, but how is it only half done??  Could it now take me more than two weeks to complete an intricate composition where a few years ago I could compete one of the same size within a two-week period.  Maybe I paint slower than I did!

Then, late yesterday afternoon, as I sat on the den sofa and stuffed myself with a large salad, I pondered over my complete inactivity.   I hate doing anything that is good for me, like exercise, yet when I look in the mirror I know I need to force myself to begin again if I do not want to get heavier and heavier.  The humidity in the hot Florida sun is overwhelming for me each summer.  My bike seat needs fixing so I use it as an excuse not to bicycle even in the evening when the temperature and humidity become acceptably lower.  Immediately, without much more thought, I switch my thinking and defend my inactivity that summer is the cause and that it always seems to go on indefinitely.  Even in October,  I think November will never arrive when the temperate days and nights beckon me out.

Times passage is always elusive to me, even in my aging.  I know I am sixty-five,  yet I don’t feel I have lived that long, yet I remember too many birthdays that I have had!   They prove how old I am, yet I feel I feel the passage of those years and the question of time passing too quickly as I paint are similar.   So then, shouldn’t I feel that the passage of  summer have the  same rate or is the its passing  governed by how I think??

I know to Remember

My days continue on much the same.  Some are better, but usually within the period of a couple days a tug, a wince, a another’s story triggers my emotions and for a short while I am in limbo.  I trudge through the house, hearing not much but emptiness, except an occasional creek from the snow on the roof..  I have come to a new point.  I know Momma is dead.  Monday is one month, but as I look around my mind prefers thinking that she is here and sometimes I walk in for a quarter of a brief second she is there.  It gives me a start and makes me believe she will be here again.  It begins the cycle of not believing all this could happen, but I really do believe she off resting and just wanted to be alone for a short time..

I know to Remember–

I walk by your picture, I pause as I pass where your bed was,
I walk on and wonder how to understand what to see,
yet  my mind toys with me and it tells me over and over you are still here–
Where I wonder, but then I ask are you just away?

I saunter on to the next room, but before I leave I tell you,
“I’ll be back”, I say “I’m going to the next room, I’ll see you there.”
But then how can that be when I know my eyes and my mind plays tricks;
where I wonder, but then I ask are you just away?

The house stays so quiet and at times I hear the snow fall against the house,
I jump for a moment, because I know that is you returning.
With a smile on my face I head toward the noise and stop–
where I wonder, but then I remember you are just away!

Your songs play from the computer and I see us dance as we did long ago,
I dance through the rooms just as we did on the farm when you were teaching me
and then the music goes from a waltz to another beat and my heart stands still,
where I wonder, but then I remember you are just away………

Yes, you are just away for now, whether I see you or not,
I know you are just somewhere, out there just beyond the door.
Just beyond the door I know that you will be waiting and no longer
do I need to wonder, I know to remember you are just away………


The Journey Back From Babble

So many days (weeks) have passed since I have posted. I have tried to write, especially at night, I sat in the darkened room at the little desk. As always, my Mother’s life support motors continued to whoosh and play in synchro-nized tones as I sat in the dark. The computer screen dimmed to maximum so the darkness wrapped around and cradled me.

Even as I sat in this well-known spot, the words rarely came. Instead, a stream of empty-headed babble floated in and around my head and quickly I began to feel very exhausted which then lead me to give up and go to bed. One more night wasted. Not only did I not write, but also the time sitting uselessly in the chair robbed me of the time I should be sleeping. It felt like a vicious cycle as the wasted hours accumulated and the body’s exhaustion peaked at new levels that take forever to lower. I admit I am sleep deprived and it does take rest for the mind to function. The body is a funny thing and shows you what needs to be done as it takes charge when I attempted to type. Without realizing it, I fell fast asleep. When I awakened only a moment later, I noticed that I needed to delete the letters and characters I had rested my fingers on as the body shut down for the moment.

The lack of sleep may make me continually disagreeable and it may cause my body to eat more than it should, but it is not the only cause for my lack of words. Lack of words, the blank mind, it is a worry to me. In addition, so many times, as I sat trying to write I found the things that bother me the most encroached upon my mind. These worries moved stealthily to the forefront of my thoughts and for a while I felt that it didn’t make any difference what I wrote about, yet I questioned how I could integrate them into my journey to my Crepusculum.

In the short time I have been posting, not all I write is directly related to my queries of the twilight, but I realize everything has the ability to influence my thinking and help me understand how I might react to problems during my time within my twilight. Any interaction I have is a permanent part of my experience and my experience will guide me down the path of exploration.

But then, I wonder, what do you, the reader, think if I continually make detours to salve the mind and let my worries come into your lives. Will you see them as I do or do you expect much more consistency in presenting issues that I face in preparation for the next stage of my life? Now after five paragraphs do you question the validity of my not writing before now? I am sure it seems like writing to you, but to me it has only been a way that I can move from a state of blankness to a state of combining words…. a state slightly less than written text.

Surprisingly now, I need to tell you more. I need to let you know how these past days have been so undirected. I am tired, very tired, but each day I know, I must go on. As I continue on each day (M. says I am not completely aware of what I do) I hope that I can continue giving my mother the same care as I have been, regardless that her care requirements have nearly tripled. I also wish that she is able to enjoy some form of happiness during this time and while these thoughts are active, I stop and remember all of you, as well as the other people who take the time to write me their well wishes.

Then, without hesitation, I take a very long moment to send peace to Shadowlands as she watches over her husband, and I especially hope that her heart gently safeguards her through these trying days as her husband passes into the shadows of his darkness. Of us two, she is the stronger and I read in awe of how she continues each new day, rarely beleaguered before him, yet inwardly being overwhelmed and possibly alone.

Therefore, he and my mother, as everyone does upon leaving their twilight, begin another journey, a final, unidirectional journey into a personal darkness. Some may say a light may guide you through that darkness, but even if it isn’t present often a living person can help by always being by their side. I know Shadowlands will walk with her husband every step of the way and I have promised my mother that I will be with her, regardless how long the journey may be.

The promises, the care, the worries, the tiredness are all a part of my life now. Even though they may be problematic, it is my choice. These are easy for me, as compared to that final moment, the final good bye, that realization that I will never hear her speak, just as Shadowlands will never hear her husband’s voice again. Sure, the voice has been a part of my life; I can listen to it in my head at any time, but never again in the spontaneous conversation that has always been between us. Therefore, I think of a time during my mother’s last hospitalization that becomes very poignant. A respiratory therapist told me quite firmly that I need to grab a hold and deal with my mother’s death, She repeated this even louder and firmer as she left the room…………”Deal with it! NOW!” The words still echo in my head, but particularly that day left me speechless and almost childlike. Now, with time to do its work I can say I may need to “deal with it”, I have tried unsuccessfully for too many years and now I know that there is no way I will ever be prepared!

Maybe now, once again I can write. I made it this far and my mind continues to be a tiny bit open. As I think on what I have written, it only reminds me how important it is for me to settle so much about my care when I reach that final journey, because I probably won’t have anyone I know to make sure everything will be as I want. I will be alone to walk through the darkness on a unidirectional journey.