I started this blog shortly after I turned 50, and all of a sudden 60 is breathing hot on the back of my neck. At 50, I titled the blog “Halfway There” in reference to the fact that I thought I would live to see 100 since my grandmother made it to 101 and my mother was in good health at 83.
In Hebrew there is an expression that roughly translates to “Man Plans and God Laughs”, and I feel like God (Goddess?) had a good chuckle when I chose my title. My faith in making it to 100 was severely shaken when my mother was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2017, and again when she died in 2018.
It was always the looming shadow of cancer that danced in my worst dreams, but now it does a macabre tango with ALS. Not just the countless ways that my mother and so many others suffer from this horrible disease with no cure, but my own fear of receiving that same dreaded diagnosis. That’s another story though, one that I’m not ready to tell quite yet, despite or perhaps because of the two year anniversary of Mom’s death coming up in a week.
This blog is about why I didn’t write for five years…although given what I’ve just revealed you may already have an idea. In some ways, I’d like to have the past five years erased from my memory. I’d like to forget my mom’s pain and my own after the death of my father in 2014. I’d like to pretend that my mother, who I used to refer to kiddingly as “Saint Rita”, got a chance to enjoy her own life after almost a decade of devoting her life to being my father’s caregiver. I wouldn’t mind not remembering the day my husband slipped and fell, fracturing his ribs, the drive to the ER that took two hours because of rush hour traffic, or the months he spent sleeping upright on the sofa because he was in too much pain to sleep in our bed. I really don’t want to focus on how the college I worked at crumbled under inept leadership, as has the US under the worst President in history.
But If I could somehow have the past five years erased from my memory, I’d lose the good stuff as well. I’d lose the amazing trips my husband and I took to Turkey, and Italy, and Tahiti. I’d lose the fabulous music that I was privileged to hear and dance to during a trip to Cuba. I’d lose five years of precious time with my dog Lulu, which in human years would mean sacrificing twenty five years of unconditional love. I’d miss the nachas* of my step-son (finally) meeting the love of his life, proposing to her, and planning his wedding.
So I guess what I’m trying to say is that erasing or ignoring the past five years would mean even more losses then I’ve already sustained. So instead I think I’ll write about them. And then they won’t be the lost years anymore.
(*Nachas, not to be confused with nachos, which are also delightful, is the joy that you get from the joy of others.)