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Monday, September 24, 2012

Critical markers.







As late as January last year,  just  after I celebrated another birthday, five years after I started this blog, I still felt as sprightly as a sixty-five year old! My goals remained the same; my hopes and attitudes intact! Hubby and I could make this walk (Port Orford's Heads, close to Coast Guard Hill) a walk we took many times, at times walking from my house four miles away and all uphill!

But our lives took a major turn after last July. We lost a son and soon my husband's health took a major dive. He is recuperating slowly from a couple of operations; his gait is still good, but his strength has not returned to how it was before.

Now, we walk around our neighborhood, a mile or so, on even terrain. We rest often, pick and eat wild blackberries, admire birds and other sights. Everything about last year is still with us, palpable, raw. He feels pain in his hips and legs, and those pains are nothing compared to the pain we swim in as we delve into the memories of Brian and how tragic his loss has been for anyone who knew him.

We have changed in fundamental ways.
Just last January we were planning a cruise to the East. Now, we are happy to take our daily
walks, simple rituals of thankfulness and mindedness.
Thoughts of tomorrows are kept simple, listing doable tasks, put out the garbage at the curb, weed the upper garden, call the kids.


A neighbor died yesterday. A sudden heart attack. A walking companion drove her to the emergency room. By all accounts, she had been healthy, active all along, except on the previous day she had complained, not feeling well, still not missing her walking routine.

These constant reminders of death are not new in this neighborhood where the average old age is 80+; where senior citizens are seen clearing brush, walking dogs, volunteering. We see people all around us make the most of their lives, visiting with friends, tending to their gardens, helping their neighbors with chores.

We made our wills for the first time this year. A simple will. We shared it with our other children.



23 comments:

Terra said...

Life is fragile and uncertain, and I can relate to your post. Every day and year that my husband and I enjoy in retirement is a sweet gift. Bless you and your husband as you continue taking your walks, and mourn the loss of your son.

Brian Miller said...

glad you made that will...that is def important...at any age...because you never know...and we do get those reminders...all too often..

dianefaith said...

My mother died 3 years ago when she was 89. Up until that point, I didn't feel old. A parent was still living, after all. But, I'm feeling older now, slower. Although I still hold onto the thought that if I would exercise more, I might feel more sprightly, I don't believe it in the way that I have in the past. So, I can empathize with what you are saying. You've had tough circumstances this last year, but you have kept going as much as you could, and you have kept writing. I can only hope to do as well.

Helen said...

Rosaria .. that 'period' after your post title speaks volumes!

We have those 'what after' talks as often as necessary .. I don't want to leave family members wondering what comes next - when the time comes.

Tom Sightings said...

What Terra said . . . every day is a gift, and we need to hold each one dear.

yaya said...

The after shocks of losing a child are devastating. My sister lost her youngest son 8yrs. ago and we still talk about that day as if it just happened. Her life and the rest of the family was altered in many ways, but seeing what it did to my Mom was very hard. We just returned from visiting her and I see the slow decline getting faster. She's 86 and I'm so pleased to still have her with us, but life has handed her some difficult times. As my siblings have started having serious health issues she wonders why she's still here and in some ways healthier than some of her kids. I hope you and your hubby continue to do as much as you can, and enjoy each day. I've learned so much from reading your blog and what to expect when my "65whatnow" time in life arrives.

Roberta said...

I often see the unspoken in between your lines of writing. Even when you don't mention it. There is no getting over the death of a child. Not ever. There is just the before and the after. It weaves it's way into ones being and settles in.

I hope your husband can regain his strength. Walking every day is a good thing to do when we have no choice but to slow down. Last year I was riding my bike 15 miles a day. This year, after my back surgery and leg issues, I am lucky to be walking 2 miles a day. We learn to adjust I guess.

Rob-bear said...

"Life is tough and death is sure." Cannot recall the source.

And yet. . . And yet there is so much more. Wild Blackberries picked and eaten, birds observed, paths slowly walked, storms endured in a cozy place, neighbours greeted and grieved. Children, happily come and gone so very sadly.

I feel I can do few big things; I need, again and again, to learn the value of small things.

Joani said...

My Dear Rosaria,
I'm so glad you & hubby are able to walk on flat land. There are days that I think I won't be able to put one foot in front of the other but somehow I manage. I continue to enjoy your writings and I feel your sorrow of the loss of your precious son. I pray for you and yours. Thanks for sharing. Have a great week.

joeh said...

Not an easy post to write I am sure.

Many better days still to come.

Rian said...

Your post and the comments made me think of Mother Theresa's words, "Man was not meant to do great things... only little things with great love."

quilterliz said...

G'day Rosaria.I think sometimes we have to take stock of things, don't we? We have to decide what's important in our life, what we can and can't do.Our life is a precious and fragile gift. I have a very good friend who lost her 22 year old son to suicide, ten years ago this November. His death still haunts her every waking moment.Take care. Liz...

Rubye Jack said...

From a not so sprightly 65-year old, you sound good Rosaria. You and your husband. Life. Death. As I ponder these myself, I find death to be not such a terrible thing, but the loss of a child... now that is a terrible thing.
I so much admire the way you are open and sharing about your loss. We go on though, don't we. :)

Shadow said...

The fragility of life... Enjoy what you have, what you can do, in the moment you're in. Sometimes there is just no better time than Right Now.

Ruth said...

I ache for the loss of your son.

It is important to hear you describe your life, your loss, and your feelings about them. This is real, and even though we will all die, and some of us will lose someone we love too soon, no one experiences it the same. It is shocking how quickly your lives changed. Truly. You did not have the benefit of getting used to the changes gradually.

I imagine that in this slower pace you and your husband make discoveries about who you are, beneath the pain.

erin said...

what do i say, rosaria?

i see you. i love you)))

xo
erin

Tabor said...

So sorry for such a difficult year. I hope that your husband fights to get better in spite of the loss of your precious child. I notice age eating away at my body each year. I find myself doing things slower or with more aches and pains than usual. But life is worth grabbing with both hands and hanging on as long as we can. I wish you a much better year ahead.

Eva Gallant said...

We made out our wills a few years ago, because you're right: we never know. I so wish there were a way to ease the pain of your loss. I can't begin to imagine what that must be like.

#1Nana said...

I don't know what to write...the pain of loss was so evident in your writing. I don't know how a parent has the courage to go on after such a loss. I hope this year brings joy and healing.

Linda Myers said...

We do as well as we can each day.

Maggie May said...

I think that we have to modify our expectations as we age and our pleasures change so that tiny everyday things can please us. Its sometimes the tiny things, like a beautiful sunset rather than the dramatic journeys and activities that we used to do.
The last couple of years have been bad for us too.
Maggie X

Nuts in May

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosaria .. so much involved in making us -us!

Life is fragile at all ages - but more so as we slowly (or fast) move on in life -

Such a mix in us too - with our forebears .. I guess I'm very Anglo-Saxon-Viking-Norman-Celt .. and just plain English!

Cheers Hilary

Pat transplanted to MN said...

most comments said it, tomorrow is not known, today is what we have. I share your thoughts. Still recovering from what seems to be a cold, so the MD says, I am thinking that age makes these bugs hang in far too long. In younger days, a dose of Dayquil and off I'd go. Now not so...but we keep putting one foot in front of the other and doing what we can...blessings