Being Seventy: Eight

The next-to-last bit about aging from the book, Being Seventy, is not a happy one:

Page 122 (following a visit to a nursing home): Now, back in my motel I am thinking about the day, especially about Evelyn, who is so dear. All three of those whom I met, each so different from the others, had one thing in common: they needed desperately to talk. This is the real loneliness of old age — to be surrounded by people and yet not have anyone to hear and respond.

There isn't a whole lot for me to say about this bit. 

In St. Jerome's day, over-seventy was ancient. Things aren't quite that grim any longer.

And yet.

My widowed older sister lives nearby and we see each other frequently, I'm happy to say. We have interests in common and some similar traits, unfortunate lack of a sense of direction and enhanced sense of humor being two of them. We are blessed to be close in more than one sense of the word. Increasingly her conversation is about losses among her peers. Many of her friends have moved to retirement centers and established new lives there. They no longer are interested in traveling to Near Philadelphia to visit. Walkers have become their partners, rather than their late husbands. They all see each other at funerals. It is sad. 

My heart aches for my sister and these losses. At the same time, I'm well aware that she is just eight years  my senior. When 2028 comes around, who among the Good Guys, the Renegades, the Circle Sisters will I still be in frequent contact with?


That is the worst thing about getting older. Losing friends and family. No one to talk to.
I wonder if it will be better for those who stay in touch on line. Does it matter if your voice is not actually heard but your thoughts ARE? If you speak out loud to a pet friend will it suffice even though they can't verbally speak back? Depressing to think about this.
xx, Carol
I am 79 and can relate to all of that, so many my age (and younger) are gone. I have solved the "nobody to talk to" so far by hanging around with people younger than me. My 3 best sewing buddies are 12, 13, and 18 years younger than me. I feel like I'm their age rather than my own.
Janet O. said…
Sobering thoughts, Nancy.
Quiltdivajulie said…
Wanda has the right idea - in addition to our same-age friends, we all need to be cultivating new friendships/mentorships with younger people. We have so much to offer and, like getting a new kitten/puppy before our beloved elderly one passes, we can make some plans to help cope with the inevitable losses that lie ahead. Thanks again for sharing this book - I'm starting on my second read (more closely this time around).
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