Let’s see . . . I’m quietly sitting, eating with my family or maybe just weeding the garden with my Grandmother and a machine flies in and blows her up in front of my eyes. Drones are not making us safer, either here or abroad. For those of you who have not read THE RISE AND FALL OF THE THIRD REICH, I suggest it would be informative about now. I read it in 1969 when I lived in Germany and drove past blown-up bunkers from WWII every day on my way to work.
War, to contemporary United States citizens, is theoretical. Who among us has worried about an explosion in front of our doors? Wiping our feet after walking through blood spattering our entries?
When I taught in an American Department of Defense school in Germany in 1969 and 1970 I made friends with Frau Rhoda . . . our native German teacher. When my husband was on duty for a week at a time she and I would go out for dinner in the country side and walk for miles afterward. She told me she fled 3 times during the war . . . and the last time she left a pot of soup cooking on the stove. She grabbed only her 2 children, their coats and they fled.
When I think of war I think of that pot of soup that was abandoned . . . left simmering.
I would NEVER (as in not ever) choose to live in a 55-year-old and above community. I need to live with a more diverse demographic. I don’t have ethnic diversity where I live but at least I play with babies, toddlers, elementary and middle-schoolers, teenagers and young 20s to 30s to 40s people.
HOWEVER . . . there are times when it’s a relief to play with people my own age. It’s fun . . . and relaxing. We “get” some things that younger folk simply don’t.
We let go of friends and family who die, more and more of them. We let go of “the things I used to be able to do.” We let go of physical strength and stamina. We let go of “control” over stuff and property. But we still play cribbage and dominoes and watch old movies together and laugh. There’s lots of laughter and good food.
We gain insight. We gain compassion. We gain tenderness. We offer acceptance. We snore. We make “sounds painful” noises when we shift sleeping positions.
We’re afraid. We’re fierce in holding onto life and the things we’ve always done.
I probably should have written all of this in the singular first person . . . the “I” instead of the “we” . . . but that would be scarier. I’m trusting I’m not the only one feeling this way.
Here’s to growing old together with laughter and grace . . . with understanding and facing our challenges . . . with being willing to hold one another unflinchingly as we age and figure out that we are in the process of letting go . . . the process of dying.
That’s the ultimate act of letting go.