When I was younger I saw the funny cards, of course, that said “aging isn’t for sissies”. But I think I imagined that once you reached a certain age, having survived a lifetime of hard decisions, things would ease up. Who knew that life stays hard.
A friend recently put her husband of more than 50 years into memory care, and he is aware enough not to want to be there. The exhaustion of caring for him on a daily basis swamped the words “in sickness and in health”, heartfelt when first spoken as part of their marriage vows.
A friend had to call her son after months of fits and starts, remissions and declines, to say “this is the day you must come. Today, or perhaps tomorrow, your father will die.”
A college friend, knowing of my love for the Jersey shore, gave me a colorful print of women of a certain age, arms linked, laughing just in front of the choppy sea, with some uncertain dark clouds behind.
I had no hard decisions yesterday, only the choice of whether to have dahlias or fuchsia planted in the sunny spot in my yard.
But that’s what we’re doing at this stage of life, friends with decades of history and caring, whether it’s our hard day or not. We’re linking arms and holding each other against the encroaching waves.