Avoid Some of the Shock

During my parents’ last few years of life, I was able to visit them at least every week or two. Although I could see how much they had declined from previous years, I couldn’t see much of a change from one week to the next.

When my mother called one day to tell me my father had fallen in the bathroom and couldn’t get up, I left work to try to help. But whatever was wrong, he couldn’t help himself at all. So we called the Rescue Squad to take him to the hospital. That was on a Wednesday.

I drove my mother to the hospital daily, but Father barely seemed aware of our presence. The doctors hadn’t been able to find the cause, and he wasn’t getting any better. So we weren’t terribly surprised when we received the call that Friday afternoon–just minutes after getting home from the hospital–that he had died.

It wasn’t really a shock. We’d seen the decline just over a period of several days after a more gradual decline over a period of years. So we were as ready for his death as we could have been.

My mother suffered from a number of health issues; diabetes, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, and rheumatoid arthritis are the ones that come to mind. Life for her the year after Father’s death was challenging, but she was hanging on.

Then came the Wednesday night when my (former) wife called me at church to say she hadn’t been able to get in touch with Mother all day, and that was extremely unusual. So I left choir practice and drove to a darkened house. Not even any porch lights were on.

Fortunately, I always had a key to the house with me. I started calling for my mother as I turned on lights and went through the house looking for her. I found her lying in bed with signs of a probable major stroke. No telling how long she had been dead. Presumably since the previous night.

Yes, finding her that way was a shock, but because of her multiple ailments and obvious decline over the years, her death itself wasn’t a shock.

~*~

We’re getting ready to go on vacation. Going back to a place I used to live. I’ve made plans to visit at least three old friends and to worship at the church I’d belonged to then.

Two of the additional people I hope to see are former ninth grade English students. I quit teaching at the end of 1974, and I haven’t seen either of them since. Because I haven’t seen them growing up and growing older, I can’t imagine I’ll even recognize them easily. The changes in their appearance over that period of time will probably be immense.

Several of my friends in that town–people I haven’t seen in thirty-five years or more–have severe health problems. I’m trying to prepare myself for seeing them that way, but it’s not working very well. After all, when I last saw them, they were not only younger, they were much healthier.

If I’d still been living in that town, I wouldn’t have trouble recognizing old students or seeing the decline in health of other friends. But I’m not.

Maybe that’s why I feel the need to advise you to stay in close contact with the most important people in your life. Even if it takes a little extra effort.

Otherwise, your decline might be a shock to them when your time comes.

As always, your comments are welcome.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

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Electrifying Kisses

DoorKnob   LightSwitch   FingerTouch   kiss

I’m not overly fond of cold weather, although it does kill the grass until spring and frees me from having to mow the lawn at least once a week.

And, my word! My Honda Civic, which automatically calculates gas mileage, goes down from an average of 29 mpg in-town driving to 21 or 22. Partially because I have to run the car a little while to defrost it and warm the inside just a tad. And partially because the tire pressure warning light comes on periodically and it takes me a while to get around to dropping by WaWa to fill up with free air.

Regardless of what I said in the previous paragraph, I’m normally a cheapskate when it comes to gas. If I see a line at the Sonic drive-through, I park and order from a stall. If I find myself delayed at the drive-through and think I’ll be there more than a minute, I turn off the engine. Same when I’m stopped at a railroad crossing.

I used to like cold weather better than hot weather. But, with the coming of age, I’ve reversed my preference.

And it has nothing to do with gas or grass. It has to do with kissing. And touching.

Touching almost anything.

Cold weather in our house means that almost everything I touch shocks me. I always hear it, and—more times than I like to think about—I even see the spark.

I’ve grown paranoid about it this winter (more than before, I mean). I’m tempted to put on gloves before touching the front door handle, even if I’m not going outside. I touch the plastic part of the pet gate latch first in the hopes the static electricity will leave me alone for once. I tiptoe across the carpet to try to prevent static buildup. I haven’t totally given up the idea of dragging a chain wherever I walk inside to ground myself.

Remaining well grounded is important for a sixty-seven-year-old man, anyhow, isn’t it?

But the most shocking problem of all occurs when Kathleen and I kiss. In all likelihood, one of us has just scuffed across the carpet, and kissing becomes an electrifying experience. Kissing isn’t supposed to be painful, is it? Or something to be apprehensive about doing?

I don’t know how to solve my other shock problems, but now Kathleen and I touch  fingertips before kissing. Better to shock that way and get it out of the way so we can have a safe, spark-free kiss.

Exciting kisses are one thing. But shocking ones are awful.

Please feel free to leave a comment about this post. I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, just go to the top right of this page where it says, “Follow Blog via Email.”

By the way, “On Aging Gracelessly” isn’t my only blog. I use “As I Come Singing” to post lyrics of the Christian songs I’ve written over the last fifty years. Free lead sheets (tune, words, and chords) are available for many of them. Because I’ve used up all of my songs, I repost a previous post each Wednesday. If you’re interested, please check that blog out here.