We have been talking about it for ages with urging from our accountant, but we finally went through the process of preparing our wills, power of attorney, and living wills. I felt oddly detached as we went through the process, as if I were making these decisions for a stranger. I feel relief that they are done…but also strange. Dan and I joked as our wonderful next door neighbors acted as witnesses for the signing, “Okay, we’re cleared to kick off any time now!”
I’ve already been thinking a lot about mortality; I’m fifty-six and Dan is sixty-six, and am working on getting back to a healthier version of myself…again. Stress has wreaked havoc on me, and I’m hoping that by changing some habits and learning to handle stress in better ways that I can continue to live an active life as I start sliding down the other side of the proverbial hill. Small steps.
I watched my mother struggle as her body gave out on her; by the time she was ninety-two, she could barely get around with her rolling walker. Everything on her arthritis-riddled body ached, and it hurt me terribly to see her in such pain. I remember her being so active when I was young, always working in the yard and cleaning houses for people. But, I also remember her spending more and more time in her recliner, and by the time she was in her eighties she pretty much lived in her lift chair. When I took her out shopping or to see the doctor, we had to use her wheelchair. I’m not afraid of dying (well, I have a healthy respect for the idea), but I am afraid of losing my mobility and my independence. That thought terrifies me. Mom had me to care for her and be her advocate- Dan and I have a dog and a cat (and the cat only likes me when I feed her). We have to do everything we can to stay active and healthy as we age so that can enjoy whatever time we are fortunate to have continuing to do the things we love. The first lily to bloom in my garden.
Aside from prompting me to think about mortality, doing our wills also made me realize that there are so many things that I still want to a accomplish, so many dreams that I want to see come to fruition…and there’s just not as much time as there used to be to get everything done. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow, but I’d like to hope that I’ll stick around for a while. My father lived to be seventy-two, my mother lived twenty years past that. Dan’s parents lived to be eighty-four and ninety-two. Who knows how our genes and the choices we’ve made during our lives will impact what happens to us. All I know is that whatever time I have I don’t want to squander away. I want to see the beautiful and the good and not get pulled into the angry and petty. I want to do my best to help and encourage others- and learn to do a better job of encouraging myself. It’s the big picture of life that is important, spending time with loved ones, appreciating what we have instead of always wanting more, making a point to find humor in situations instead of falling into the endless cycle of worry and stress. I’m trying; I’m far from perfect, but I’ll do my best to live life to the fullest to the end.