As we walk

Every evening Foxy and I walk to the elevator past our neighbor’s apartments as the sun sinks in the West and the light goes from peach to dark blue. Since the heat in Las Vegas Nevada has dropped, one of my neighbors who is in her mid-70s keeps her front door open to let the heat out and the cool air in.

Foxy, a little chihuahua-terrier mixed dog, rushes inside to great her. My neighbor used to have dogs many years ago. Now she lives in a senior independent apartment and doesn’t have room or energy for a dog. Just for a moment she smiles and pets Foxy. Foxy’s tail wags continuously until the neighbor quits petting her.

We do this every day unless I feel sick. On those days I will get a call from my neighbor to see if I am okay. She misses Foxy and she misses our talks. We will visit and talk about family, life, and illness. We will talk mostly about experiences–like having dogs or working. My neighbor worked in a casino most of her adult life. She has severe lung problems because of it.

When I was a child, I knew a lot of families who welcomed their grandparents into their homes. We live in such a different age now where the elderly is put away where from their families. The knowledge of the elderly is lost.

I laugh because when I stop and talk to them I find out that one grandmother has cancer and goes on the bus every other day to get radiation treatment. She doesn’t tell her grandson because he is taking care of a wife who also has cancer. Just last week an man in his mid sixties died. I met him and he didn’t look sick on the outside.

Every day we see paramedics in this area. Some of the elderly come back and some don’t. I talked to a man who had just turned 84. “All of my family and friends are dead now,” he said. “I am alone.”

Sometimes I wonder why we have gone to warehousing our elderly. At one point they held the knowledge of their tribes. They still hold the knowledge of their families. Every day we lose more knowledge as they die.

Aging is not fun. Many of these folks who are living the long life are grumpy from pain and from loneliness. Some of them spend their days gossiping. They are people after all. They are also the trailblazers to what comes next.

7 thoughts on “As we walk

  1. At 83 my father faced the same dilemma. His children and grandchildren would have welcomed him. He did not want that. He selected an operation as his method of exit, but forgot to tell them Code Blue. They revived him. He refused to eat or drink. It doesn’t matter how much nourishment they deliver via a tube, it isn’t sufficient. Yes, I was with him when he went home to the Lord. I do not have a dog as I do not have the energy to care for one properly. I have, however, decided to write my memories. If my grandchildren or great-grandchildren are interested, they will be able to read it. Tweeted.

    • Very glad you are writing your memories. Now that is a sad story about your father. At least most of the people here can take care of themselves. It is also better than being in hospice care.

      • Before he died, he told me, “I knew this body when I was young and strong. Now I’m old and weak and I don’t like it.” The statement is true. He was a very strong man, but he was also a stubborn German. He had made all the arrangements for his funeral service with the Pastor at his church. He was set on dying and he did.

  2. I guess I am stubborn as well because I should have died when I was 41. I held on.. .and I am still here. I wonder sometimes if certain people have a choice to stay or go.

    • Sometimes it really isn’t a choice, Cyn. When I couldn’t breathe in Iowa, I went home. It was so golden and warm, I had but one more step to take when the voice said, “No, you cannot be here yet. It is not your time. Go back.” Suddenly, it all disappeared and I was back between the two feather beds trying to be warm and a trying to get the air out of my lungs so I could take another breath. At the time, one doctor had advised Mama to take me home and let me die. She went to the Lord in prayer, and did what was commanded. She took me to a warm, dry climate. My father thought he would never see me again.

      • It was. I can still feel the walls of that grey tunnel as I walked towards that beautiful golden light. I was fourteen at the time. Even then, I realized the Savior’s promises were true. It’s one of the reasons I’m in church every Sunday morning (except if I’m ill).

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