A taboo that haunts us all?  

warmandsexy52 65M
7186 posts
8/16/2006 2:35 am

Last Read:
8/21/2006 10:46 am

A taboo that haunts us all?

It haunts us all, doesn’t it? Old age seems to be a bit of a taboo on this friendly site. I think we have blogged more about death than we have about getting old, and yet if we’re lucky to live that long this is our fate. The longer we live the more fragile we become and so the desire to live forever, even the fear of death itself, gets worn away by the experience of decrepitude.

Both my parents died suddenly of heart attacks. My dad was only 59 and my mum was in her early eighties. Neither reached the time when the disabling effects of age ravaged them, so sudden death was a mercy. But I see other elderly people, particularly those with Alzheimers, drift into a twilight zone that is neither living nor dead and the grief that envelops the nearest and dearest. Not a fast grief, but a slow corrosive one.

So around all this grey area there is a fear, and as with all fear it breeds behavioural consequences. So it is tough being elderly, with a very stark get-out clause. And maybe the fear that younger people have means we don’t look to our more senior human beings as they should be looked at. It’s the easiest thing in the world for a carer to speak to an elderly woman as if she was a few sandwiches short of a pinic and call her “dearie”, to then find she has a PhD, or to deeply patronise a fragile elderly person who was dropped behind enemy lines in World War II (I know examples of both!).

A little while ago I read a brilliant post [post 359127] by the lovely and very talented blogger ArtisticTwist75. My comment was:

so fearful we tread
if she was dead
she wouldn't remind
and be so unkind
to us in our youth
avoiding the truth
that no one will care
when we too are there


You see, once upon a time when families were closer, the elderly would be embraced within the wider family, but with our increased mobility and independence we have lost that means of support. We’re going to live longer, but how do we nurture the opposite of the fear that we now have, so we can have a more loving and supportive way with our senior citizens ‒ not just in our social systems, but in our own hearts, our own feelings?

And would it be better to end life in a blaze of glory ‒ a Thelma and Louise end of the road trick?

Or do we just hang in there, in the slow decline of a battery going flat?

Does this ever trouble you?

And am I just being a party-pooper by blogging about such things?

Lust, after all, comes from the Germanic “lustig”, meaning “Life.”




ArtisticTwist75 42F
2505 posts
8/20/2006 11:36 pm

I'm glad it touched you. I have a very sensitive side to my elders. Actually I am working on a collection of poetry celebrating the elderly. I hope one day to publish it. You honor me with such high praise sir. Thank you. Cheers.

Artistic


warmandsexy52 replies on 8/21/2006 1:08 am:
TY Artistic. Your post the inspiration for this post. I think it is important we do celebrate the elderly. They have achieved so much and have so much wisdom and maybe we'll be there one day. If nature's reward is not all it should be then humanity's reward should be.

hugs {=}

warm xx

CB_2 52F

8/18/2006 12:53 pm

Quoting playrigal:
>I have seen staff their lose patience with residents, I myself lost patience with my dad. I don't think we don't want to give them the respect they need, but frustration certainly sets in, when something as simple as eating becomes a chore.

I remember when my Nanna came to live with us in her 80s. My mother was so good to her. When she had a toilet accident, mum just cleaned up after her. I asked in frustration why she didn't get a nappy for Nanna, so she didn't make a mess, and my mum just looked at me and said "She will never have he indignity of wearing nappies in my house, however many times I have to clear up after her."

Warm is right, it is all about dignity (can I come up and drop out of your harness as well, when I need to??!). My neighbour opposite has a husband who has Alzheimers, just beginning to unravel. She is such a proud, determined woman, and I fear for how they will both cope. They both reached their 80s independent and in control. It is the most cruel disease in many ways.

Blogito ergo sum.


warmandsexy52 replies on 8/19/2006 4:22 am:
You are welcome CB2, but I can think of some creative uses for a harness before I even consider dropping out of it.......

Damn! I lasted 20 comments before I went pervy .......

But I think it's a good idea to have a light touch at the end.

warm xx

warmandsexy52 replies on 8/19/2006 4:28 am:
And it is demanding making sure people retain their dignity. Your mother sounds like a remarkable woman,

As for dropping out of harnesses.....

You are welcome CB2, but I can think of some creative uses for a harness before I even consider dropping out of it.......

Damn! I lasted 20 comments before I went pervy .......

But I do think it's a good idea to have a light touch at the end. Thanks for giving me that break.

warm xx

florallei 100F

8/17/2006 11:35 pm

I have great affection for the elderly...I grew up in a household where 4 generations shared one large ancestral home...the matriach was loved and respected and honored...It is changing even where I am from...It is very sad!
I see in this western culture a growing trend of very neglected and abused elderly parents. It saddens me.
Static shows that the baby boomers will change the radio of senior citizens...there will be more older people among the population...We need to take notice and show proper respect and honor and educate the young of the value these older ones have.
In my family they were the historians who told stories...It was a wonderful time for me to hear about their lives, their joy, their pain, their adventures...It is lacking today.
Great Post.
hugs, flo


warmandsexy52 replies on 8/19/2006 4:17 am:
As a baby boomer I know our generation is notorious for kicking up a fuss. We've kicked up quite a mixture of fusses over the years, some good, some bad. Let's hope we kick up a fuss for the good here.

warm xx

tenorsaxxman 67M

8/17/2006 4:49 pm

I believe it was Neil Young who sang "Better to burn out than to rust." I adhere to that thought, so I've been trying to burn out all my life and consequently the burners are rusting now. Such irony. The eskimos simply put their old outside the igloo when they are no longer productful, where they freeze to death, not painfully. It is their way. I hope to teach when I am old, if I am old, so that others will find value in my existence, and I as well. I will write books about how I got there and what it looks like. At least women have the "Red Hat Society" where they wear purple dresses and red hats and act crazy at their club meetings. I'm not sure what we have, except golf. Hmmmm, maybe I'll market purple golf balls . . . . .. .

Tenorsaxxman


warmandsexy52 replies on 8/19/2006 3:48 am:
Believe it or not in the free-flying community there are the old flyers. Crazy, clasping onto life-lived-to-the-full. Their experience compensates for a loss of athleticism, and once their sails are in the sky they are just as cool as everyone else. Simply wonderful.

warm

wickedeasy 68F  
31320 posts
8/17/2006 3:23 pm

smiles - a wonderful post - and i mean filled with wonder - i miss the idea of a nuclear family where the aged are as honored and as significant to its structure as the wage earners or the children.

my dad had alzheimers and for 4 years, my mom watched him disappear. in a rare moment of clarity about 2 weeks before he died, he looked at her and said "this is just too hard Peg of my heart" - he didn't speak coherently after that but in essence he released her to mourn and when he did pass over, we had the best damn party

there is a story about a woman who has alzheimers - she put a bottle of pills, sufficient to kill her, on her mantle. the ntoe on the bottle read "when you forget why, take me"

i'm older than most here and from a family with longevity genes but i do think that if my life became not my life, i would choose to leave than stay and become less than me

hugs tight

You cannot conceive the many without the one.


warmandsexy52 replies on 8/19/2006 3:28 am:
It strikes me, wicked, that despite what a number of social philosophers might pronounce we are most equipped emotionally to look after our own kin, and we have lost that in a world of social mobility and wealth acquisition. There are no easy answers, certainly not from me.

As for alzheimers - the lasting impression I had of visiting an elderly scottish aunt in an alzheimer's ward in the highlands of Scotland was a stark awareness that alzheimer's was simply dying very slowly - a long drawn out twilight on a cloudy day. I would rather my consciousness closed like the shutting of a door.

Thank you. Your comment really made me think.

warm xx

CB_2 52F

8/17/2006 5:16 am

    Quoting rm_heavenly_:
    Warm... this post is wonderful...its not often I am left speechless but these comments I have read here have left me humbled....my heart goes out to CB2 especially.... such a brave lady...
    with love sweet warm.... x
That's a very kind thought, Heavenly, but trust me, I'm not a brave lady at all. I am very lucky in that my husband left me well provided for and also that I somehow have developed an approach to life which is "if you don't like it, change what you can and forget about what you can't". Life does go on, and we should enjoy it while we can.

Blogito ergo sum.


warmandsexy52 replies on 8/19/2006 3:18 am:
I deeply admire both your sentiments. Dear friends. {=}{=}

warm xx

__Huntress__ 56M/59F

8/16/2006 6:53 pm

Not something any of us really want to think about is it ? Getting old scares me so much more than dying ... I can't imagine what it must be like to feel like a child still inside and yet be trapped in a body that no longer works as well as it used to, I don't want to know that the days may begin and end in blur of pain, endless rounds of medication, forgetting names and people, places and things, I don't want to feel the loss of those who came before me or after, don't want to be cared for by people who don't care about "me", don't want to lose my teeth or hair, or look at a body that seems to be melting away right in front of me ... don't want to be like my father who was ravaged by disease, hooked up to an oxygen tank, who slept each night in neck and back traction, and took too long to die at age 59 ... don't want to see pity in the eyes of my children, or even the faintest trace of resentment for the burden bestowed on them ... rather than live through any of this, I'd rather die instead ...

{=}


warmandsexy52 replies on 8/19/2006 3:11 am:
It's a fear shared, dear Huntress. Death is so much easier to cope with. When I have had the odd brush with a dangerous situation in the sky it's all matter of fact ..... whether I live or die. There is an ordinariness even in the drama, almost a banality. About death itself I wrote the poem Stillness whilst you were away writing. I think it's the subtlety of it ..... we get beguiled into old age one day at a time. Thank you so for your frankness, because I totally share the sentiment. One of the reasons I fly is as long as I can I am alive, and have the capacity to be really alive, and I dread the day that that will end.

warm xx

rm_sexxikritter 53F
2715 posts
8/16/2006 4:59 pm

I worked with the elderly for several years. I was amazed at how many never had visitors, ever. It was shocking really because I have warm memories of visiting an elderly aunt (by name and heart only, not blood) for the four years she lived in a nursing home. We kids loved to sit and chat and hear stories of the "olden days" from the residents.
In my job, I often had blocks of time, 15 minutes here and there where I would go into the day room and just talk with these wonderful folks. They just wanted someone to talk to them, acknowledge them, to hear something other than "Did you eat all your oatmeal, Sadie?" or "Let me help you get dressed Mr. Smith."
My favorite was a lady named Bodil. She was a retired professor of music and still loved to play the piano. Every day, she would see me coming and slowly rise from her chair and make her way to the piano. She would play a favorite song of mine, "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" and we would sing it through twice.
Awww, I'm gonna cry now. Thank you, Warm. This is a wonderful post.


warmandsexy52 replies on 8/19/2006 2:44 am:
I am so deeply moved by your comment, and the way Bodil retained her dignity and specialness. Thank you so much for sharing.

warm xx

Sulabula 46F
12659 posts
8/16/2006 4:42 pm

Great post...very thought provoking I guess old age creeps up on us all at some stage...and no...you will never be a party pooper

Sula xxx

come visit my blog


warmandsexy52 replies on 8/19/2006 1:43 am:
Awwww! Thank you Sula ......

warm xx

TheQuietGuy2005 56M
2386 posts
8/16/2006 1:10 pm

I make jokes about my age (sorry, sir) but I don't really feel old yet. Every now and then it hits me just how old I am and I compare how I behave now with how people of my parents' generation behaved.

Old age awaits us all but if there's any comfort for us it's perhaps to be found in the fact that the current social mores don't tie us down to "comfortable" conformity as they once did.

I did have a friend once who said she intended to die of a heart attack at the time of her own choosing: on a roller-coaster with a glass of champagne and a bowl of strawberries!


warmandsexy52 replies on 8/18/2006 11:27 pm:
It is true that you can grow old disgracefully, as my mother did, to die of a heart attack before the severe effects of ageing kicked in. I actually think there is something in choosing your own manner of death before the real indignities set in. Thank you QG.

warm

goodatpoetry2 68M
16569 posts
8/16/2006 10:41 am

Of course this is something I think about. And having no family, [kids/wife] I guess I'll have to handle it alone.
A quick death would be nice, but you can't count on that. I plan to take my own life if it comes to some slow kind of thing.
Maybe in a blaze. Why not? Just dive off the highest bridge or something. You'd appreciate that! A little "flying-time" before signing out. LOL!


warmandsexy52 replies on 8/18/2006 10:48 pm:
Yes, I have thought of a Hemingway-style exit. I think if all was a lost cause unclipping my harness 1,000 feet or so above the ground (not difficult to get there) might have a certain attractiveness. Just two carbelt type buckles. However, whenever I'm up there I'm aware of how strong my survival instincts are.

warm

DiscreetDelights 51F

8/16/2006 8:57 am

Wonderful post. The comments so far as well.

I think I've chosen to go out kicking and screaming so I can pronounce "oh what a ride!" when I get to wherever I'm going.

Love & Light - DD


warmandsexy52 replies on 8/18/2006 1:04 pm:
Oh DD the trouble is that at the height of the ride, when we can crash in full splendour there is a little voice that calls us to hang in there over and over again. I've talked about my dark fantasy of unclipping my paraglider harness when I'm over 1000 feet up, but playing that mind game when I am up there I am aware how precious life is and how psychologically hard it is to unclip two safety belt type buckles, even though physically it is the easiest thing in the world to do. I just think we hang in there and little by little we erode away into a twilight. So yes I want to go out in a blaze of glory but .........

As for the comments on this post. I am absolutely blown away by them. They are utterly awesome.

I am so pleased you visited and thank you for doing so.

warm xx

CB_2 52F

8/16/2006 5:53 am

Warm, you touch on a subject I think of often.

My mother died 3 years ago aged 72. Most people were astonished at her age, because they thought she was in her late 50s - she looked and behaved that age. She died suddenly of heart failure, and simply fell to the floor dead.

I envy her that, because I know her greatest fear was to become an "old person". And I know it was important to her that she did not die in the bath, or on the toilet, because it would be so undignified - I gave the eulogy at her funeral, which mentioned these points (I'll mail it to you, because it gives you a sense of what she was like).

Being a battery running flat would have destroyed her.

My husband died suddenly of cancer a year ago. He was ill for only 8 days. When he got the diagnosis on the Wednesday (he had gone to hospital with a nasty cough the previous Thursday) that it was cancer, and it was aggressive and terminal, he told me he wanted to come home to die. He did not want his life to be prolonged by medication, to string it out for another few weeks or months, only for me and the children to resent visiting him in hospital, no longer recognising the husband and father he had been.

He was the bravest man I know.

He came home on the Wednesday and died on the Friday. If ever I have cancer (as something like 1 in 3 of us will at some point), I want to do the same.

CB2

Blogito ergo sum.


warmandsexy52 replies on 8/18/2006 11:19 am:
CB2 ...... such a moving and powerful comment. I have sometimes thought in such a situation I would love to fly to somewhere over 1000 feet and simply unclip my harness ....... and I am not suicidal. I have sometimes wondered whether the defining moment of our lives might be the dignity we choose in death. Thank you so much for sharing.

warm xx

moonfire2u 71F
2602 posts
8/16/2006 5:19 am

My mother and father had both passed away at very young ages...my mother at 40 and my father in his 60's...but my aunt who has never been married is in a nursing home...I visit her once a week along with about 5 of my other cousins...and it is emotionally draining for me...she is 87...and she is still mentally alert but her body is becoming more and more burdensome to her...she has been fiercely independant all of her life but that is rapidly changing...the depressing part for me isn't visiting with her because she is still herself for the most part but witnessing all the others there...the ones who never have visitors...that have been deposited there to die...it is like an elephant graveyard...this society has truly lost sight of want is important...a sense of family. Things instead of people have become the focus of their lives...Sad really..for all of us...

kind thoughts,
Moonfire


warmandsexy52 replies on 8/18/2006 11:11 am:
That is so true, dear moonfire. And we have abandoned the commitment to care, as we dedicate our time to the treadmill that makes more things ....... realising that we too in turn will be ignored as we fade into the twilight.

warm xx

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