Anyone notice how much 0ld people talk about illness and death? It’s depressing because clearly there comes a time when it’s a subject close to the heart.
Last weekend an elderly Aunt joined us when we went out to dinner and she seemed to be having a whale of a time, laughing and joking along with the rest of us. The very next day she phoned me to ask what is wrong with my brother. Is he ill? Because she’s worried that he looks ill. Awfully tired…. And he’s lost so much weight. I explained that he’s very tired from his current heavy workload and that the weight loss was planned, but still she probed, clearly expecting me to reveal the hidden truth. It actually upset me and when I put the phone down I burst into tears. The last time someone did this to me they were proved right – my Dad had passed away within the year – and I suddenly started to worry whether my brother is actually ill and is trying to hide it from me. As my husband put it however, if you talk enough about illness and death, statistically you will be occasionally proved right.
Then this weekend we were out to dinner again with more elderly relatives. They weren’t such happy bunnies, understandably because both have bad aches and pains that our health care system can’t, or is dragging its heels about sorting out. A fair proportion of the conversation therefore centred around those health worries so the evening wasn’t quite as jolly as I might have hoped, but then, the coup de grace came when they started to run through a list of young friends that we have lost.
The thing is, I know exactly why the subjects of poor health and death occupy so much of their minds but I absolutely dread getting to the stage when my conversation is peppered with who has died, or will die next. I often have to remind myself of ‘the cup is half full’ scenario and I like to think that most of the time it works and that I stay positive. Will this all change in years to come and will I just become morose, miserable and therefore not so grand to be around?
Someone once said: Getting old is not for wimps. They were right.