Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sad Part of Being 70 and More

Growing older also means one's friends and acquaintances tend to be older and that, inevitably and awfully, means some will die. I have been lucky, in a way, not to be near a lot of contemporaries, such as those I went to high school and college with, and that a great many of my friends are younger than I am. [I also think I am younger than I am.] The Christmas letters brought news of a dear college friend who died last year. And several of my small high school class are gone -- mostly it's the men; which is statistically likely but nevertheless a sad thing.

When I moved to Cape Cod my daughter very quickly took me to a poetry reading with students and teachers at the school where she works. I met a beautiful woman, a poet, English teacher, administrator there who read a poem and who mentioned wanting to start a poetry group. I and my daughter and her husband were quick to say yes, we'd like a poetry group too. So a few other people were found and we met every couple of weeks for a brief while -- until the rug was pulled out from under us when this lovely woman was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreative cancer in October. She died last week and a lovely memorial service was held yesterday. Many, many ex-students and others who knew her were there. And for the first time I had to stop and think about how quickly life can disappear and that, as I know but wish I didn't, the stroke of the scythe doesn't discriminate between those who are living rich, full, beautiful lives and others who are less vibrant and seem to have slowed and be more ready. And I read in the memorial pamphlet that she was just my age, though I thought she was younger.

And, yes, I think some are ready. The last member of the generation before me, my mother's youngest sister died this fall. She was a vibrant woman too always full of laughter and enjoyment. But she had suffered from congestive heart failure for many years, and then macular degeneration that robbed her of much enjoyment. She was tired, she had seen several great-grandchildren arrive [whom she did expect to live to see], but I think she was ready.

My briefly known friend enjoyed gardening. Mmany pots of flowers were in the sanctuary and people were encouraged to take a pot home. My daughter, who knew her well, has a pot of primroses, thus the primroses in the blog. Perhaps eventually I'll find a poem to write, I feel mute today.

6 comments:

Jonas said...

A poignant post that resonates on so many levels.

LimesNow said...

Oh, June,I recently suffered a loss, as well. Thank you for this. It made me sob.

Gabriela Abalo said...

June,
A very touching post. I’ve also being thinking about death a lot, and that has helped me to re-evaluate many things about my life and how I’m living it.
The realization that death can knock at our door any minute, despite our age, race, social status, education, good/bad heart, etc, is indeed a wake-up call.
I lost a friend 2 weeks ago, he was coming back from his honeymoon, when the plane crashed - he was travelling on Ethiopian Airlines with his new wife and his mother in law. They were on their way to Zambia to start their married life. He was 30 something years old…
As you said in your post, I also stopped to think how life can quickly disappear without discrimination, and how many times we take it for granted and therefore wasting precious moments.. with that in mind and I wrote this poem:

"Moments that come and pass,
moments that will never be back.

Touching, heartrending, agonizing moments
Faithful, wonderful, graceful moments
Aggressive, emotive, apprehensive moments
Lively, lovely, joyfully moments

Each moment counts,
Each moment is an opportunity
Each moment could be the very last

Moments to be lived to the fullest,
with passion, enthusiasm and greatness

Moments that come and pass,
moments that will never be back.

Moments, that is all it is…"



loveNlight
Gabi

June Calender said...

Thank you, Jonas and Limes,for your comments, and thank you, Gabi, for both your thoughts and your poem. We all know that we only have the present moment and yet we cannot live as if that is true. The sad parts of life make us stop and think about it now and then.

June Calender said...

Thank you, Jonas and Limes,for your comments, and thank you, Gabi, for both your thoughts and your poem. We all know that we only have the present moment and yet we cannot live as if that is true. The sad parts of life make us stop and think about it now and then.

Kass said...

This is a very touching post to me as I have just spent the last week helping my 96-year-old mother adjust to her new home in an assisted living community. So many are tired and ready for death, but somehow cling onto life. It's precious.