I should be sleeping.
It’s 11:39 p.m. as I start this blog, and I’m going to need to get up in two hours and then again four hours after that.
I should be sleeping.
Instead, here I am, writing, because I can’t shut off my mind.
Upstairs, my mother lies in our bed. Earlier this evening, she tripped over the entrance to her home and went down hard on her right shoulder. She snapped the bone about three inches down from her shoulder. Apparently the bone then slid under, then up into her armpit. I can’t imagine how painful that must have been.
And now, she’s staying with us. And I worry, because both I and my wife work full time. Neither of us will be able to adequately look after her. She’s a stubborn woman and she won’t slow down for this, even though she’s been told to basically not move it for at least a week. How do I know? Because mere minutes after being told that, she was trying to get back to her house to get a bunch of stuff. She’s not going to stay still. It’s not in her nature.
So, instead of sleeping, I worry.
And I wonder why, after she fell, she called a few people, including me. I live a solid half hour’s drive away from her. It never occured to her to call 911. My wife had to from another line while I stayed on the phone with her, trying to get her to not worry about dinner being ruined in the oven, or the friend she had coming over, or one of several other things. Why would she call around instead of calling 911?
And that gets me worrying even more.
I worry about the thing that all children worry about. What happens if my parents can no longer look after themselves?
I worry about the thing that all parents worry about. What happens if I can no longer look after myself one day?
I don’t ever want to be a burden to my kids. I don’t ever want to be that old person that only talks of how sick their friends are, or how many of their friends have died. I don’t want to be that old person that no one wants to listen to, because all their conversations revolve around aches, pains, sickness and death. I don’t want those things to encompass my world. I don’t want them to define me.
My mother is doing well for her age. Overall, she’s very healthy, her mind is quite clear and she’s extremely independent and self-sufficient.
But when things like this happen, you see a different side of your parents. As a child, I’m used to needing my parent, not the other way around, and, though I’m 48 and should have wrapped my head around this a long time ago, I have not yet. I’ve been lucky. My mother’s been lucky.
Sooner or later, however, that luck runs out. For all of us.
Funny how, just this morning, I was looking at all the good that we can learn from those who came before us. And now, here I am in another mindset altogether, wondering how long it will take before I become more of a burden than a benefit to my own kids.
I’m sure my mother’s going to be fine, and this is simply the initial shock of the injury, the concern at seeing her in pain, seeing the exhaustion in my wife’s face from being that strong one for the past several hours. Still, I can’t help, when I look in my mother’s face tonight, to feel my own mortality.
I can’t help but realize that young, immortal man that I was, seemingly so little time ago, is now past middle age. I’m realizing, with the passing of my uncle, with my mom’s injury, that I’m not immortal. I never was.
I said this morning that it’s times like this when it’s easy to question why we put so much effort in for so little reward. I guess, the other side of that is, I don’t want to be the one that’s causing a lot of effort and not rewarding it somehow for my kids, for my loved ones. One of my cousin’s commented on my last blog, saying they wished they could be 10 years old again, because life was so much less complicated.
Tonight, I couldn’t agree with her more. Tonight, I would take 10 years old. Tonight, I would take uncomplicated…
It’s midnight now. And it strikes me how bleak the world can seem in the middle of the night when there’s no one around to tell you different.
I’m sure I’ll be much better in the morning. I’ll have had time to regroup, to plan things out.
But right now, morning seems a long way off.
I should be sleeping.
Instead, I worry.