Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Aging

The Unkind Aspect of Aging…

Cousin Bertha learned the computer after she was eighty. For ten years she wrote letters, a journal, not online. At night she would get up at three am and write. She was a marvel. Most of her contemporaries could not.

Then one day she sat at her computer and COULD NOT REMEMBER HOW TO TURN IT ON. She wept, or felt like weeping. Aging, or maybe Alzheimer’s, had regressed her abilities by some ten years.

Her son understood, and made a special mark on the start button so she could get going again. And now she is writing again, but feels the impinging of age. How long before she forgets the special button, or how to operate the programs she is familiar with.

I understand. I live in an old folks home. When I moved in at 75 years of age, I was the youngest. I felt pretty smart. I could remember my neighbors names, the number of my apartment, and my phone number. But now, at 81, it is a different story. I struggle. I pride myself on remembering names… but it is a struggle. One day for several hours I could not remember the name of one of my grandsons. I stormed and fumed and tried to force it back, but no, it was gone. It stayed gone for over an hour. Then it came back when I was thinking of something else.

And the people around me are worse. They lose their way to their rooms, a route they have taken for months, years.

In On Golden Pond, Henry Fonda weeps because he becomes lost a few hundred yards from his home. We weep with him.

My grandmother used to lament, “Oh, how I miss my mind.”

Today, AOL is acting up. I cannot read my email, I cannot reach my journal. How helpless I feel.

Oh, computer, do not fail me. Be my memory for a while longer. My own is stumbling.

PS  (see the comments below) I didn't think I was fishing for compliments...but I guess I was.  And you were so kind with your compliments.  I didn't mean to make Carlene cry.  I am not crying...just a little sad.  Life is worth living.  I have a DATE tomorrow night...with a real live lady... to see a play..that my son-in-law is directing.  So we WONT go dancing afterwards... it is still a date.

8 comments:

kateh2ocolorart said...

You are one of the very few parents in your age group, of kids in my age group I know, who still use the computer at all, and EVEN the net!
Pat yourself on the back!  Even if I can't write a very good sentence.
Kate

mavarin said...

Oh, Chuck.  Hang in there.  You're still doing so much better than many of your contemporaries. We're all grateful for that, out here in the Chuckoblogosphere!  I know it's frustrating.  But remember - even us, ahem, somewhat younger folks get stuck sometimes, trying to remember what we know we know!

Karen

chasferris said...

thank you kate and karen....chuck

plieck30 said...

I couldn't think of   sour kraut today and it bothered me no end when I tried to tell someone what we were having to eat at the center. You do wonderful. Paula

herheadsnacloud said...

Hey Chuck,
You got it goin' on!!! You are fantastic man!!! Blogs come and go here in JLand..but yours is the only one I keep reading day after day for over a year now I think. You definitely do not give yourself enough credit!!!!! HUGS! B. Lynne(Bambi)

garnett109 said...

Chuck I'm 44 and my mind plays that hide "n" seek game with my memory!
I do love reading your journal ,it is great!
There are days that I'm in a middle of a sentance and I forget what the hell I was Talking about!

bamawmn46 said...

Chuck, I think you are amazing!!  You work the paint program better than anyone I know!  You do amazing things!!  You have encreased my vocabulary, shared so much, show interest in my work.... You have so much!  Thank you for sharing it with all of us!
Jackie

tendernoggle said...

YOU KNOW CHUCK.THIS WAS A BEAUTIFUL ENTRY...........REALLY....YOU SAID IT ALL AND SAID IT BETTER THAN I EVER COULD HAVE.....MY SON IS MENTALLY HANDICAPPED...HE LIVES WITH ME, AND ALWAYS WILL..HE CAN NOT WORK THIS COMPUTER THOUGH I HAVE TRIED TO GET HIM TO LEARN IT...AND HE HAS A WINDOW UNIT AIR-CONDITIONER IN HIS BEDROOM WINDOW THAT I TOO HAVE TO MARK A SPECIAL BUTTON WITH INK SO THAT HE CAN REMEMBER HOW TO CUT IT ON.....UNLESS YOU HAVE LIVED WITH IT OR AROUND IT, YOU DO NOT APPRECIATE THE HARD WORK THAT AN AGING OR IN MY SON'S CASE; HANDICAPPED MIND HAS TO DO....I CRIED WHEN I READ THIS ENTRY OF YOURS...CRIED FOR YOUR FELLOW RESIDENTS, CRIED FOR MY MAMA (WHO HAS ALZHEIMERS) AND FOR MY SON...AND YES FOR YOU AND I, BECAUSE ONE DAY WE TOO WILL BE THERE....
AS FAR AS YOU CHUCK...AT 81..YOU ARE DOING A HECK OF A LOT BETTER THAN I AM AT 52!!!! SO HAVE NO FEAR...YOU ARE OK....NOW ...I HAVE TO GO FIND A KLEENEX!
LOVE YA,
CARLENE