Will You Still Love Me When I’m 64?

I had a birthday this week. I’m 64. Every time I say or think 64, that Beatles song cranks up in my head. I wonder if that’ll happen for the whole year.

When my dad was 64, he lived in a nursing home. He was an alcoholic and an insulin-dependent diabetic who fell, broke his hip and went through DT’s in the hospital which caused wildly unstable blood sugar. So instead of surgery, he spent 6 weeks in traction in the hospital. He had a stroke  while in traction and never went back home. He spent the next 7 years in a wheelchair in nursing homes, slowly deteriorating mentally until there were no shreds left of the dynamic salesman he had been. He was 69 when he died after another srroke.

When my mother was 64, she lived alone, visited my dad every day and barely ate. I think she was anorexic most of  my life. (Thank you, Jackie Kennedy.) She fell while having a stoke, broke a hip and ended up in the same nursing home as my father. She was there, using a wheelchair, for 3 years. He died first.  She eventually stopped eating completely and died a few months after dad at barely 70.

I had pneumonia a few weeks ago. I complained to one of my daughters that I had no appetite and no energy. She told me I had to eat so I didn’t end up a frail old lady like Grandma.

I want to make a sign to hang in my office–the word FRAIL in big black letters circled in red with a diagonal line through the word FRAIL.

I stopped drinking years ago because I didn’t want to turn into my dad. He was an unhappy man who emotionally abused my mother. I’m not like that.

Right before I got sick, I made an appointment with a trainer to begin to recapture some of the strength I’ve lost during the last 2 1/2 years of one surgery after another. I am embarrassed by my lack of fitness, no matter how many times I tell myself I’ve done the best I could.

I’ve read Brene Brown books about shame and resilience. I’m still ashamed. (If you haven’t read her, you might try one from the library. Or listen to her TED talk. You won’t be sorry.)

I hate the idea of being seen as weak or incompetent. I know I can be emotionally strong and resilient. I will try to tap into that strength to have the will to patiently and kindly build my physical strength. I wish I thought it would be fun. I do think it is necessary. I don’t want to be frail like my mom.

A friend shared this poem with me recently. It’s by Jan Richardson from a book called Circle of Grace.

Blessing of the Body

This blessing takes

one look at you

and all it can say is

holy.

Holy hands.

Holy face.

Holy feet.

Holy everything

in between

 

Holy even in pain.

Holy even when weary.

In brokenness, holy.

In shame, holy still.

Holy in delight.

Holy in distress.

Holy when being born.

Holy when we lay it down

at the hour of our death.

 

So, friend,

open your eyes

(holy eyes).

For one moment

see what this blessing sees,

this blessing that knows

how you have been formed

and knit together

in wonder and

in love.

 

Welcome this blessing

that folds its hands

in prayer

when it meets you;

receive this blessing

that wants to kneel

in reverence

before you—

you who are

temple,

sanctuary,

home for God

in this world.

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Published in: on March 18, 2016 at 10:38 am  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Love Jan Richardson’s writing; thank you for sharing, and blessings on your new year: May it be filled with gentle peace and renewed strength!

  2. I am so very much with you. I turn 65 this year and just went back to gym and a trainer after a couple of injuries and surgeries. I hear your frustration. My mother died a few years ago from not taking care of her body and I don’t want to do that. It is a journey and like any will have some fun and some pain. Just know there are others out there who are on the journey as well. Love the poem you shared.


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