October 6, 2012

Old age

Scanning the numbers, I follow them down the hall, to the one that matches the number Grandma gave me.
I take a deep breathe and walk in, my head craning to try and see who is in the bed to be sure I am entering the right room.

Grandma, sitting on a chair, recognises my first, her eye sight is better than my great Aunt, who lies on the bed.
My great aunt is thin, surrounded by medical equipment and with a needle running into her arm, and a tube giving her oxygen.

The kiss on her cheek is still soft, I hear the familiar whirl of her hearing aid as I press my head next to hers.
I am ashamed to know that it over a year since I have been to see her. I have been wrapped up in my own cocoon of life. Each visit to her little town house ended with my feeling down for days, the agony of an active mind in a worn out body too much for my own melancholyness to bear. And so I gradually stopped going, selfishly.

Each sentence is an effort. Every few minutes she lies her head back against the pillow and closes her eyes. She tells us stories of her travels and adventures. There are whole books of stories that will be lost soon.

Death doesn't scare me. Old age does.
I want to shy away from it, forget it exists. Forget our bodies are not made to last, that we are designed to rely more on others as we age.

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