WORTH IT?

A Silly Picture of my Partner and his GrandMother

My Partner’s GrandMother has a Significant Other.
His name is FRED.
They have been together as long and as sincerely committed as my Partner and I,
And though of an earlier generation, they have been as completely accepting of our Same-Sex Relationship, and Same-Sex Marriage, as any post-modern-thinking Friends we have — Right from the Beginning!
GrandMother just turned 91.
And a few weeks ago, FRED, a very healthy 85-year old who did everything for her and on whom she depended, suddenly and unexpectedly died.
My Partner went out to California for the funeral service,
And that night, GrandMother had a stroke.

So here is this woman who uses a walker and has trouble getting around.
She is fiercely independent, insisting upon no help from Aides and CareGivers.
And suddenly, unexpectedly, she finds herself alone.
She is frightened. She is sad.
She has a stroke and is now in rehab.
She only wants to be home.
We are figuring out how to get some help in — an Aide a few hours a day and what she can afford, as in this country, there is very little provided to care for its Aging Population. Our CongressPersons, of course, continue to get their salaries and their elitist Health Care Plan for Life. But for the rest of us, whom they are elected to serve, there is little.
Such is the Disgrace of every American CongressPerson.

Life ahead was looking somewhat bleak to her before she had the stroke.
91 years old, somewhat infirm, and having just Lost her Partner who was her Everything, and the Person she depended upon…
One is almost forced to ask, “Is it Worth it?”

“YES!” comes the answer.
Life is Life!
If we are wondering if we have served our purpose and completed what it is that we came here to do, and if we are still alive, the answer is, “No!”
There is more to Do!
And perhaps we see life a certain way.
Perhaps we do not see ourselves as ever becoming elderly and infirm.
Perhaps we see ourselves with hips and knees that always work,
or sight that never gives out,
or lucky enough to have a heart that’s not broken.
And if we are fortunate enough to enjoy these gifts longer than others, then Yahoo!
But for most of us, we give up things as we age.
We gain things, also — Wisdom, Perspective, Understanding…
I remember a song I learned in Catholic Grammar School which named the Gifts of the Holy Spirit; the lyrics went:

The Miracle of our Daily Bread

“Wisdom,
Understanding,
Counsel,
And Fortitude,
Knowledge and
Piety,
Fear of the Lord,
Gifts of the Spirit,
Working within me,
Helping me do things in just the right way…”

These Gifts seem, for the most part,
more alive in the elderly than in any other demographic of friends I see.
And so, Yes!
There are So Many Gifts we receive,
Even as we are called upon to give up so many of the comforts we have known.

And so, while one might be tempted to ask,
“Is it worth it?”
The answer comes — an unqualified and resounding, “YES!”

The telephone that still hangs on the wall in GrandMother’s Home

GrandMother is a Marvel!
She worked for the telephone company so many years ago — back in the forties when it was the way one may see in old movies, connecting plugs into a switchboard to put calls through, connecting the entire town with one another.
And she has lived into the age of SmartPhones dominating the culture.
She went to work at a Pharmaceutical Company back in the Fifties, when the workforce was dominated by men — on the wall of the warehouse, the men had an enormous poster of a naked woman with her legs spread wide open. Upon arrival, she pointed to it and unapologetically announced to the Foreman, “I want that taken down!” There were few enough women in the work force back then that no one had dared to comment on it. She took a step further and told them, “If that’s still up there tomorrow, I will bring an equivalent size photo of a naked man with his legs spread in the same position and I will put that up there! Equal Rights!”

This Woman is Awesome!
And even now in her old age and frailty, she lives a Life of Outspoken Courage!
And YES, this Life is worth Living!
Every Moment!

Whatever we do without…
Whatever we may compare ourselves to, in riches or beauty, or status…
Whatever we may lose along the way…
It is Always worth it!

Let us respect the Inestimable Value of Human Life!
Let us remember that this Life we live — this Precious and Valuable Gift —
Is the Greatest of All Wonders!
No matter What!
When we have been together with our LifePartner for Decades,
Or our Pet has been by our side for ten or fifteen years,
It may be hard to think of Life as worth Living when they have departed.
Too Painful?
Perhaps. Who would deny that?
But even a Life fraught with Pain and Challenges and Confusion, and Ailments and Knees that don’t work quite the same way as they once did, and the Loneliness of our Signifcant Other gone before, leaving us with that hole in our hearts that cannot ever be filled in this Lifetime…
Even that Life is still US.
Here.
Present.
Living
In a Physical Body.
Some Body
With skin and bones and musculature and a Beating Heart…
Our Soul — bruised and battered.
Whatever it is that makes this 98% Water and 2% Dust get up and walk around
And See
And Think
And Experience the World around us…
And we are Here!
With Other People!
Constantly interweaving our Stories…
And with the Ever-Looming Possibility of Love
In all its Infinite Forms!

Worth It!

And it is So Worth It!
YES!
This Gift of Life
On Whatever Life’s Terms
Is Unquestionably
Unequivocally
Uncontestably
Unambiguously
Unmistakably
Undeniably
Irrefutably
Incontrovertibly
Indisputably
Indubitably
WORTH IT!

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4 Comments

  1. This is beautiful, Arnold. Grandmother sounds like a force to be reckoned with and a wonderful ally for those that she loves. such an affirmation of life. Thank you for sharing her story. ❤️

    Reply
    • Thank You, Dearest DONNA! And YES! A Force to be Reckoned With — it would take one to recognize one! And that would be YOU! With So Much Appreciation for the Force of Goodness that you are in the World… ❤ XXOO

      Reply
  2. I can’t tell you how much this speaks to me, Arnold. I have become a fierce mother bear on behalf of a dear friend whose children are far away and who has no other family here. She is in a four-person room in a care home. Three women with advanced dementia and my friend, whose mind is questing and fiercely ALIVE. And so I have sharpened my claws on behalf of my beloved friend. I have promised to get her into a facility where she can live out whatever time remains to her, in dignity, in love, in gratitude. It is not easy to find the right place, but I will keep that promise, in spite of wait lists, in spite of sluggish bureaucracy, in spite of naysayers. Your post boosts my (temporarily) flagging spirits, bolsters my determination, makes me cheer. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Ah, Dear Cathryn, I So Appreciate you and your expression and the way you Lift us all up! Thank You for honoring your friend’s Life and for keeping to your promise that her Life, all our Lives, are So Worth It! Bless You in your Quest! I wish you all the support in the World! XXOO

      Reply

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