Aging

April 24, 2008 Categories: Faith , Prayer | 5 Comments  

I found a white hair on my head yesterday. Now, that’s not news – they’ve been showing up for a while now. The news is that this one had managed to make it to the length of the rest of my hair. Normally, I pluck them as soon as they spring from my scalp, wiry and slightly bent and refusing to blend in with the rest of my hair.

I’m only 35, and so far I haven’t had to deal with any of the worse symptoms of aging – except the normal stretching and falling of body parts that comes with four pregnancies. However, I have friends who are older than me, some of them much older, and watching as they suffer some of the more difficult aspects of aging is heartbreaking.

I lost a dear friend to abdominal cancer three years ago. (I posted about Beve here, here, and here.) She was about the same age my parents are now.

My mom and dad will both turn 60 this summer. Sixty is not old, right? But when my grandfather died at 64, when I was in college, I don’t remember ever thinking that he was so young to die. Now, with my parents entering that decade, I realize how premature his death was.

Today, I learned that a friend from our former church was just diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Joyce is in her early seventies, though you would never know it. She is vibrant, active, sharp as a tack. In 2002, Joyce and her husband Bill took a trip across the US in an RV. They visited historical sites, watched a space shuttle launch, and Bill went birding to his heart’s content. In 2004, not content with staying home and enjoying their retirement, Joyce and Bill headed to China to teach English. Joyce ended up playing piano at a house church and leading a Bible study in their apartment. I wish you could all meet her, hear her teach Bible study, know how smart and charming she is, so that you could understand how devastating the thought of her losing her memory, her identity is.

Joyce and Bill’s daughter, Jan, is also a dear friend. She’s not much older than I am. When I think of what the years ahead will be like for her, I can’t stop crying.

Joyce loves Jesus. Jan loves Jesus. There is comfort in that, but this situation seems horribly wrong. Our bodies are fallen, our world is fallen, and aging and disease is a result. I can be logical about all of that until it hits someone I love, like today. Then it feels unjust and ugly.

Please pray for Joyce and Bill, Jan and their other three children, and their many, many grands and great-grands.

5 Comments

  1. Andrea

    I hadn’t really mentioned on my blog how my grampy was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Kinda glad my grandma isn’t here to see it. :-/

    He’s at about 10% loss, or was last year – he’s slowly going downhill. Since we were all told not to stress him, shock him or give bad news, he has no idea I was in the hospital with a couple operations. (Nanny died from uterine cancer.)

    Last week a card arrived from him to Ron on Ron’s birthday. It read “sorry I’m late”. My birthday was the week before and he hadn’t sent a card. :-/

    I just try not to think about it too much.

  2. carrie

    Oh, Andrea – I’m sorry. ((Hugs))

  3. Dana

    I’m sorry to hear that. Those things really do make you think about aging. I’ve had a few gray hairs, but my mom went gray in college. So I don’t really think about it in terms of aging so much.

    I like to think of them as my threads of wisdom. There are a couple mixed in with all the foolishness!

  4. Crissy

    I’m sorry to hear that your week has been the pits.
    Wishing you better days ahead, Carrie!

  5. carrie

    Dana – I’m going to borrow that and just assume that I’m getting very, very wise.

    Crissy – Thank you. I spent three hours on the couch reading today, and having some down time has improved my state of mind a bit.