You Gotta Be Bold to Be Old
I’ve just come back from taking care of my mother for a couple of days after some minor surgery. I was struck once again by the courage required to face the various adventures of aging.
Mom’s actually quite sturdy at 86; the stories she tells are what make me aware of the perilous nature of being old. She’s developed a sort of gallows humor to deal with some of it: tells a very funny and hair-raising and sad story about going out to lunch with two friends, one with Alzheimer’s and the other with emphysema, breathing oxygen from a tank.
Bottom line: while she was trying to get the forgetful one to her house, the other one started running out of oxygen, and they were still ten miles from that woman’s home. So Mom drove the ten miles at enormous speed hoping that a cop would see them and help, or that they’d get there in time.
They got there in time. The friend who got the oxygen lived several more months.
You gotta be bold and tough: either to be the one who’s air or mind is running out, or the one seeing her friends fall all around her. As stages of life go: it looks at least as hard as the worst of ninth grade.