We, the aging, have a choice regarding how we live our remaining years and, possibly, how we die. This is true until we have no choice, and our caregivers must take over. While not easy to talk or write about at any time, it remains a fact that must be dealt with. Almost two years ago, I was under Hospice care, on oxygen around the clock, and ready and wanting to die. I felt it was all over for me, that is until I realized that Lenette needed me to be there for her as she was for me.
In mere days, I was off oxygen, back to writing my essays and feeling terrific. It was Lenette and her needing me to be there for her that turned my dying into living. In a few months, Hospice threw me out of their program. That experience taught me that love and relationships are powerful motivating forces. They brought me back to life and wanting to live.
By surrendering to aging, I became someone I have never been. That was what brought me to the edge. The power of our sixty-nine-year relationship pulled me back from the brink. As both student and teacher, I have gained some profound lessons to share. I hope they will strengthen the resolve of old people like me to stick around a bit longer.
First, and most importantly, take on a job with purpose. What I mean here is to find ways to revitalize your passions. Take classes with the intention to learn. Be an artist, learn a new language, play an instrument, etc. You’ll find your reward in the very act of participation and possibly becoming. This is more valuable than money.
Always remember, it’s not over “until the fat lady sings.” So, get on with it. Time waits for no one.
I was close to what?—I am present now, how good—I think I will stay