Spending this past weekend with my parents has forced me to acknowledge that my parents are old. Whilst they are both relatively healthy, well as healthy as a couple who chow down of a variety of medications daily can be, they are old. My mum is looking more and more like her older sister, the sister who died last year. Her mannerisms remind me not only of her sister but of her mum, my nan.
In all of the memories I have of my nan she is in a wheelchair. She spent almost all of her time sitting in her chair, to the left of the pot-bellied stove with a knitted or crochet blanket on her lap. When she wasn’t talking to her kids or grandkids and listening to our stories of incredible adventure she was doing word searches. She sipped her tea from cups with oversized handles and ate easy to cut foods using chunky cutlery. The pens she used for her crosswords were made for arthritic hands. She was quietly spoken, her voice was gentle and quivery. Her head had a steady wobble to it, and her voice matched her head wobble. It was this same head wobble that my aunt had. Because I remember my aunt much more clearly than my nan who died more than 20 years ago, I also remember that her head wobble was the start of her quick aging process. Seeing my mum yet more frequently I noticed that she now has a pronounced head wobble. I first noticed it as a shaky chin and random eye twitches, yet I ignored it, hoping that it wasn’t real that somehow it was my imagination. There is no denying it, now she has a real head wobble. A wobble that is uncontrollable and unexplainable.
Now I know that arthritis and mobility issues are going to be a part of my life, they are already a part of my mums life. Already she has had multiple surgeries on her feet and ankles to alleviate pain and increase her mobility. It seems that random head wobbling is also a part of my future. This post isn’t meant to be about me getting old, it is more about me recognising that my parents are getting old and they won’t be here forever. I can’t imagine life without both parents, or how one parent would survive without the other.
What is also concerning, is my mum’s concern for my dad. He isn’t himself. He won’t say that he is unwell yet he looks exhausted and fell asleep during the day when he was here. Falling asleep isn’t all that unusual in itself but the fact that he fell asleep as girl-child was talking to him was unusual. Of course as he won’t admit that something is out of kilter, he won’t see a doctor.
All of these things, plus man-child’s dad dying earlier this year and a friends dad dying today reminds me that life is precious and unpredictable. I want to spend time with all those who are precious to me and celebrate just how lucky I am. Instead I will sneak upstairs and kiss my babies.