That was my first thought when Karen Helene Walker put out her first call for essays for an anthology on aging. It’s my mom who’s aging, I thought. I’ll write about her.
Everything is relative, of course, and that’s easy to see when you read the new release, Still Me … After All These Years: 24 Writers Reflect on Aging. Some of the writers are much younger than others, but we all have our own experiences with feeling our age, thinking about growing old, and, sadly, some of us even think about dying…although we don’t spend a lot of time on that one.
When I chose to write about my mom in an essay called “Just Another Journey,” I thought she would still be here when the book was published and be delighted at the things I said about her. That didn’t work out. In December, Mom developed a bad cough that was diagnosed as bronchitis and was put on a strong antibiotic. After the antibiotic was gone, the cough persisted. Finally diagnosed with a type of pneumonia consistent with aspiration, a serious threat to those who live so long, she was whisked off to the hospital for stronger antibiotics. The tests revealed she also had severe sepsis. After a couple of miserable days, Mom took things into her own hands and informed the doctor exactly how she wanted her care and end of life to proceed, and that was that. I never had a chance to tell her about this anthology or my essay, never got to read her those things I wrote about her strength, her will, and her courage. She knew what I thought, of course, but she had no idea I was going to put her out there for all the world to know.
So back to that question about who’s aging. Not me, I thought. It was my mom who was aging. She was 97 and still enjoying those vanilla milkshakes as though they were the nectar of the gods. I really thought she was going to make it to 100.
Me? I might have aches and pains, a totally new knee, a screw holding one of my fifth metatarsals together, and occasional bouts of forgetfulness, but I’m only 74. That’s not old! I don’t care if the newspapers do like to call 60-year-olds “elderly” when writing their little articles about car wrecks and scams. They’re wrong, wrong, wrong.
Some of the folks who contributed to this wonderful anthology on aging have more years of life experience than I do, but when you read their essays, you won’t think of them as “old” either. To learn more about the contributors to this anthology and to follow the blog book tour, you can visit the MC Book Tours website.
I have also scheduled a Goodreads giveaway of three copies of this anthology for March 29th to April 5th. I’ll remind everyone when it’s time to enter.