A mindless ending

There are detours and pitfalls in life.  From the day we are born until the day we die, life is a gamble.  How long the road is from birth to death to a significant degree depends on the roll of the dice.  Part of the problem is when you lose on your parent’s roll; you don’t necessarily pay then and there.  Sometimes that losing roll is the genes you inherit when you are conceived.

 

For many of us, the pay up comes later in the form of the Big C – cancer.  It is one disease that keeps us looking over our shoulder to see if it is around.  There is another; it is something that might or might not affect us directly.  It is a disease that can affect us or those in our lives whom we love and who love us.  It is Alzheimer’s disease.  It is an insidious enemy that stalks us, especially we who are older.  It is something that announces itself subtlety.  It is the polite guest that seems to have an annoying habit but never leaves.  It slowly takes over your house, dictating how you live and, in time, brings death – first to the essence of who we are.  Our mental capacity, who we are, is gone long before our body dies.  When the disease is in full rage, we are viewed in terms of who we were.

 

For those who are afflicted with Alzheimer’s in their fifties, it comes as a shock, both to the individual and to the family and friends.  It is an ordeal that is thrust upon them long before they thought they might have to deal with it.  But for us who are older and moving deeply into seniorhood, the odds increase; the odds of us tossing the dice and winning become slimmer.  Sure, some seem to win against that foe.  For them, they continue to flourish well into their nineties or more until they quietly and peacefully die. 

 

For all of us though, we wonder and worry.  And we are joined in that wondering and worrying by family.  Spouses are concerned that not only will they lose the one they love, but that they will also be burdened with caring for the one affected.  That is equally true for children and the closest family members.  So it is that when the symptoms first appear, our first line of defense is denial.  We, patient and family alike, refuse to accept that the winds are rising and the storm is coming.  To think of what is to come is daunting and can be shattering. 

 

So we privately watch for any signs.  A forgotten name, a misplaced set of keys, searching in the wrong drawer all are cause for concern.  The medical professionals try to assure us that most of these things are normal.  But when you can’t recall as you could when you were younger, it is by definition unusual and cause for alarm.  When those around us who are afflicted get beyond denial, the grieving begins.  It is like watching a movie and knowing how it will end, and that ending will not be a happy one. 

 

As I have often written, life has its ups and downs, its ying and yang.  Being born is our alpha and dying is our omega.  How life goes in between and how we arrive at our own omega is life’s crap shoot.

 

So I end this dreary musing as I sometimes do – with one of my non-rhyming poems.

 

And So It Ends

 

I know you are gone  

But where did you go?

What do you see  

In that world that you live?

 

Do you know who I am?  

Do you know that I’m here?

Do you still love me,  

As you once did?

 

The spark is gone

  In those eyes that once shone.

Your voice is now mute,

  The sound I once knew.

 

Will you return sometime soon,

  Or have you left, left for good?

Your leaving a great void,

  That no one can fill.

 

I cry every night,

  As I dream of the past.

I miss you so much,  

Miss who you were.

 

Good bye, loved one –

 


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