on growing old

When I was five years old, I had a terrible dream.

I dreamed that my mom was an old lady with grey hair who couldn’t walk up the stairs.

When I woke up, I told my mom about the dream, crying.  I asked her if she would ever be old like that. “Yes,” she replied, “but not for a long time.”

Until I had that dream, I was certain that my parents would always be the young and vibrant selves they were when I was five.  I am pretty certain I thought I would always be a kid, too.  Since then, I have gone through various phases of dealing with the shocking information that my parents would get old.

I am keenly in touch with the pain I will feel if I live long enough to lose my parents.  Mostly I am in touch with how grateful I am in this moment that my parents are here and that they are still well.  I am grateful for who they are and have been for me.

Accepting my parents’ mortality forces me to realize my own.  I will not live forever; I will not be young forever.  My children, if they live that long, will one day lose me, too.

No one gets out of here alive.  Not even those whom, in our eyes, are stronger and bigger than life itself.

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