Age is one ugly bitch

by Ginger on January 9, 2009

in Family

You know what’s hard about getting older?

Watching your family get older. It’s fucking heartbreaking. And it about did me in over the holidays.

I’ve mentioned on here that my mom is awesome. That my mom and I have an amazing relationship (that we know we’re lucky to have and have cultivated over the years). What I may not have mentioned is that my mom likes to think she’s superwoman, who can (and does) take care of everyone and everything–my whole life she’s been a whirling dervish, with more energy, stamina and spunk than me or my friends combined. Not yet in her mid-50’s, she’s still young at heart.

So I was shocked when I saw her at Christmas. My vibrant, vivacious, energetic mother…wasn’t. Due to some pretty severe back problems, she was in pain. She had mobility problems. She moved like someone well into their 70’s or 80’s some days. It was like her body had aged 20 years in the 6 months since I had seen her last and it was a sucker punch to the gut to watch. Don’t get me wrong–her wit, and humor, and personality were all still there (ARE all still there). But it was like she was trapped in some other person’s body.

The hardest part, though, was how quickly it brought to mind thoughts I’m not too keen on having. Thoughts like, I live 1300 miles away, what if something happens to her? Or like, if she gets hurt, I won’t be here to help. Or like, what if by the time we get around to having kids, she can’t even pick up her grandbaby? Or like, please, God, not my mom, it’s not fair! Or like every horrible, morbid, painful thought you could have about a parent/friend that you love, cherish, and can’t imagine the world without?

I’ve always said, in large part because of living around my mom, that age is a state of mind. That you’re only as old as you act. Unfortunately, this holiday, I had to face the reality that that’s not true. The real truth is that age is one ugly fucking bitch who wants nothing more than to drag you kicking and screaming away from youth and vitality. And that, even worse, she usually wins.


I want to thank everyone who commented on my post yesterday about writer’s block–it was really great to read everyone’s thoughts and responses. This is one of the many things that has been clogging up my brain, making it impossible to think about much else. I didn’t originally want to write about it because I didn’t want to upset my mom (should she ever read my blog) by talking about her health in a public forum. But I think she would understand that this is really about my fears and my pain at watching her and not about exposing her health issues. At least I hope she understands! And honestly, there are a lot of us out there dealing with watching our parents get older, so I don’t feel alone in sharing this.

Cee January 9, 2009 at 5:31 pm

Yea – that is so true.

My parents are in their early 50’s, and I can hardly believe it – even though it makes sense because I’m in my late 20’s.

I really worry about them – their health – etc. I only see them a couple times a year because I live almost 500 miles away.

It really makes me sad – what if they aren’t around when I get married, or have kids?

Most of my grandparents have passed away (1 grandma left) and it tears at my heart to think of what my life would be like without my parents 🙁

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lucklys January 10, 2009 at 2:29 pm

i’m the same way with my dad (though i love my mom just as much, i’m definitely a daddy’s girl), and every time i see him, his age shows more and more. he recently had knee replacement surgery, nothing too major, but he still had to be put under for it, and i was completely stressed out the entire two days he was in the hospital. i live in new york city, my family lives in wisconsin, so there was nothing i could have done (not that i could have done anything if i was there, but it’s the ‘being closer’ that makes me feel even that smidgen better) if something had happened and he hadn’t woken up or they had made his leg worse.

i try not to think about it too much, and just live in the present, but it’s definitely tough when you’re lying in bed at night and all you can think of is “who am i going to call to get recipes from when mom’s gone? who am i going to call to see how many fish are in the lake when my dad’s gone? how am i going to find out how my siblings are doing when my parent’s aren’t there anymore and my siblings won’t talk to me? ”

the world gets less and less fair as we get older…yet it seems we’re expected, more and more, to try to understand it

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Jenn January 12, 2009 at 1:12 pm

I had a similar experience with my mother a year ago. We are also very close, and she has also always been active. However, for the past few years she’s had a lot of knee problems, and a year ago had to undergo knee replacement surgery. My dad and I went with her to the hospital, and watching her go through pre-op almost sent me over the edge. Luckily I was able to help her through the next couple of weeks as she recovered but I found myself in the bathroom sobbing several times. I expected to be emotional, but I didn’t realize how hard it would hit me watching her recover. It was gut wrenching knowing that she was getting older…also the child became the parent, now I’m the one constantly calling to checking in on her…

Jenn´s last blog post..Well at least it’s something…

Cee January 13, 2009 at 3:43 pm

My mom has also started having knee problems. It really makes me sad.

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