Thursday, April 22, 2010

Life's Not Always A Dance.....

“People grow old only by deserting their ideals, Macarthur had written. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up interest wrinkles the soul. You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope as old as your despair. In the central place of every heart there is a recording chamber. So long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer and courage, so long are you young. When your heart is covered with the snows of pessimism and the ice of cynicism, then, and then only, are you grown old. And then, indeed as the ballad says, you just fade away.”
Douglas MacArthur
The above quote may very well state the secret to never aging. Sure, our bodies change and begin to wear out as we get older, but if we are lucky, our minds can carry us for a long time if we have the right attitude. I stood by my mother right up until her days on Earth were over, at least from a physical standpoint. Her memories I choose to keep going as long as I live. The end was hard, I would say the hardest thing I have yet faced, but her number one concern was who would take care of her beloved Henry. I reassured her that he would be fine and I would see to his care as he aged. It does require a sacrifice by me and my wife, with some adjustment to the freedoms of being an empty-nester, but when your father is cut from the cloth that Henry is, you find ways to make it all work. For some people, out of sight, out of mind is how they choose to deal with aging parents and loved ones. After all, everybody is so busy working and living their daily lives, who can blame them. Others just can't deal with the emotional stress that goes with the territory and it is easier to find a "place" for them to be cared for. I am not chastising that choice at all, and many choose to cross that bridge. Life's not always a dance.
I choose to get the most out of my father as I can while he's around. I choose to show him honor, the honor he has earned by living a good life. He has so much wisdom and knowledge that his 82 years have taught him, yet to share. I tend to think about what adjustments he has had to endure, and endure with mostly a smile on his face. I wonder what he thinks about when he is quite, is he reflecting on Nonna and their 53 years together? Does he worry about his children, that have reached middle age? Do his days seem ten times longer than mine do because he does not have much to do? Only he can answer these questions and as is most often the case, older people don't always open up about their thoughts. What I do know is that my job is to make him as comfortable and provided for as I can, and I would not treat him any other way.
Yes, it's true that life's not always a dance, but when you still have hope, love and something to live for, it continues onward. Be sweet to those who brought you into this world, heck, treat them like you treat your friends!
Love John

1 comment:

  1. It's been said, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." It's certainly true in this situation. John, you and Kathy have been an example of what it means to take care of family.

    Carolyn T.