My dad’s mom turned 100 yesterday. A full century old. I don’t believe in saying things like 100 years young because that would be a bald face lie. There is nothing young about being 100. My grandmother looks amazing for her years. Her face has hardly changed since I first met her, but when I first met her she was already 75. She can barely see now and she has lost 99% of her hearing as well. But she is still hanging on in this world, existing, not dead, but not really living.
My dad’s Uncle Frank and Uncle Kelly are both at the same nursing home where my grandmother has been for 15 years. Uncle Frank is 102 and Uncle Kelly is 98. Dad and I took them outside and visited with them for a little bit, but they can hardly hear and they speak so softly they are hard to understand. I have trouble speaking slow enough and loud enough for them to hear me, but I was still delighted to spend some time with them.
Spending time with old people is not something that most people enjoy doing. I think being in a retirement home makes us aware of our own mortality. Everywhere you look there is a near corpse-like body sitting in repose. Drool drips from a pointy chin, the smell of urine and bleach hangs in the air like an angel of death, and time, although it seems to stand still continues to strip away all vitality and pride.Â It is not a pretty picture. It is not a pleasant place. As humans we’d much rather cling to our youth and spend our time in spas and drinking shots of wheatgrass and eating whole foods. We don’t like to think about Death, but he is there, waiting for us and we must all visit him sooner or later.