Saturday, July 14, 2012

Thoughts on Aging

In the past few months I lost:
          An ex-sister-in-law,
          A friend from college,
          And now my niece’s husband.

I have visited:
My bedridden mother,
            My in-constant-pain sister who 
                suffers from a bad back,
         And my 87-year-old 
                Mother-in-law with her failing 

We made an unexpected trip to Iowa last week after receiving the awful news that our niece’s husband had suddenly died from a heart attack. His death took everyone by surprise. Alan was really nice and will be greatly missed.

A Grim Reminder

We never know the last time we’ll see someone. We saw Alan last Thanksgiving, not knowing that would be the last time. I need to be more mindful to let people know that I love them and to express affection while I still have the chance.

Alan’s death is also a reminder to not only have my financial affairs in order, but also my spiritual, mental, and relational affairs as well. Just as important as having a will and other end-of-life business matters settled, I need to make sure I haven’t left any unresolved relational odds and ends.

It’s sobering to know that more of my life is behind me than before me. I fear growing old and feeble. I dread the decline of mind and body.

Aging is...

like being forced to climb up a difficult mountain without being in shape or having the right tools.  The level of difficulty is unknown as it’s different for every person. The length of climb is indefinite. Every step is uncharted territory. Between falling rocks, loose gravel, steep drop-offs, and decreased oxygen, it’s not a trip for the faint of heart. There’s no going back down the mountain. The only way off is to die.

I wrestle with my mortality and am reminded that I don’t want to take my life for granted. Just like Alan didn’t know how long he had, I don’t know how long I’ll have. There’s no guarantee I’ll live twenty more years. There’s no guarantee I’ll live one more year. I could be gone tomorrow.

We don’t have a choice of how or when we die, 
but we can choose how we live.

I want to live well. Though someday I may be broken in body, I don’t want to be broken in spirit. I have no control over the physical afflictions that come my way, but I do have control over my character.

When I’m gone, I want to be remembered as someone who was:
and a good friend.

Some days I am those things. Some days I’m not. Worrying about the future makes me weird. I’d rather be wise.

Psalms 90:12 resonates - “Teach us to number our days aright so that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom.”

Lord, please give me eyes for that which truly matters. Please help me to be less afraid of dying and more afraid of not living.


  1. What? Where all the normal commentaries? Too not warm and fuzzy? Thanks for being real Angie.

  2. Ah, a great reminder that death is part of life and we must be ready.


  3. Praying for you my friend.
    Great truth...thank you for sharing!!

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  5. My sympathy to you in these recent losses, Angie. One of my favorite aunts told me, "Growing old isn't for wimps!" Thank you for sharing a bit of wisdom here (as I also get weird when I worry too much). I like to think of aging like a fine wine or cheese; a sort of full ripening of fruit or a tree changing in fall. Luv2U

  6. Well said, my friend, and oh so true. "Time marches on and eventually you realize it's marching right across your face." Truvi, Steel Magnolia's Living well and right are the key as you so pointed out. As a little girl I decided I would smile a lot so I wouldn't have the permanent frown a lot of older people seem to have...never mind that smiling causes wrinkles.
    Keep up the God work.

  7. The very last line says it perfectly. Wow.

    God, make me into that old lady that everyone wants to hang out with in the nursing home :)