Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Fear of Growing Old

I'm twenty-nine now. I can never be younger again. My body will only age and age and age while I try to keep in shape. One day, it will quit, but probably not all at once. Like my grandma, it might be slow and exhausting. It might be filled with family members staring at me, wondering if I'm sleeping or just half conscious from drugs.

The past couple of weeks have been tiring. Friday, the 10 of january, grandma died all night, but only in our minds. I left work at 4:30 and spent the next 7 hours in the ICU waiting room with my loud family. Grandma's blood pressure kept dropping, her lung filling with fluid. At one point, for no reason, someone stared crying. We all started crying. I found my dad near the men's bathroom sobbing quietly into his hands, the way I found him once when I was 4, after a head on collision my mom and I had with a drunk driver. I hugged him and thought about what to say. Instead, I patted him and walked away. That's what he really wanted.

At 10:30 p.m. someone thought to get fried chicken, so we feasted.

But, Grandma turned out fine and went home that tuesday. She stayed home for five days. I called on Saturday, the 17th to ask permission to come do our interview. I'm going to take the camera down there and let her talk, about whatever. I'll ask some questions, and let her ask me some questions. We scheduled it for the next saturday, so the 24th.

January 18th, this past sunday, was my birthday. Mom and Dad were coming at 11 to take us out to lunch and just hang out. When the phone rang at 7:45 that morning I already knew. For my birthday, the truck battery was dead as Mindy and I tried to leave for the hospital around 9. We stayed at the hospital until 2:00, then we came home and slept.

Just this morning grandma has gone on dialysis. She watched her husband go through it, and she chose to do it anyway. In a way, I keep hoping she'll let go during one of those surgeries. Just slip into a much deeper sleep. But, for whatever reason, she's still fighting.

It's not like she just lies there unconscious. I make her laugh until she coughs. She says witty things back. Her brain is just fine. And maybe that's not good.

Yesterday I forgot my teaching bag, but remembered my teacher clothes. I felt myself getting sick, you know, stuffy nose and just general crap feeling. This morning I woke up sick. And tired. I slept in. I mean, even though I'm sick, it feels great to be home. It's like I've never been home. I don't mind being sick because I get to rest. Finally.

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About Me

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Writer, teacher, and archaeologist. Contributing essayist in the anthology "Crooked Letter I: Coming Out In the South" from NewSouth Books.