It was quite early when I got the news via Facebook that my friend’s wife had died. She was a mother of 5 and obviously a wife, daughter and sister who will never see 50.
I reached out and said I was sorry and offered to help in any way I could and thought back more than a decade to when we met through blogging.
Back in the days when life felt simpler and I would occasionally ask him when the Aussies would learn to play real football.
In between the day dreams and introspection I heard a familiar voice tell me that when I was ready to get down to tachlis I would know it and I wondered again about the future.
Facebook says I have more than 700 friends and quite a few can claim to go back many decades but there are some who I wonder about.
People who might fit better into a category called the friends we used to have because there is no contact or connection.
Maybe it is just me, or maybe it has run its course.
I had a rough night that turned into a rough morning and afternoon. Wasn’t sure if I had a case of food poisoning or something else but was pleasantly surprised that I felt well enough to see the dentist.
Sat in the chair and was excited to see my blood pressure was 121/77 as I was a little fired up and expected it to be higher.
Doc reviewed the meds I take to be certain he was working off of the latest information and asked if there were any issues I should mention.
I told him I can’t drink 32 ounces of anything right before bed or I have to get up to pee.
He smiled and asked if I remembered I was at the dentist and I told him I certainly knew where teeth were supposed to be and where they should never be.
“Don’t worry doc, give it another 10 years and you’ll get to join the fun.”
We both laughed and then they numbed my mouth and I started thinking about whether I ought t0 journal what time I drink and how much so that I can better manage this waking up in the night thing.
It doesn’t happen every night, but it happens a couple of times a week and that is more often than I like.
Dad told me to expect this but I can’t remember whether he gave an age nor am I sure that it matters.
I know for certain I cannot drink in general like I once could and though there are much bigger problems I miss being like a camel.
This aging thing isn’t easy and if I am honest I am not moving through it as gracefully as I would like to.
But in key areas I feel pretty damn good. I am a good friend which is probably part of what I am conscious of who else is.
When dad died there were some people who came out of their cones of silence and were very communicative with me.
It spoke to their character and reminded me about why I had chosen to make them part of my life. Reminded me that whether they were a central character or a minor one I had made a good choice.
I often remind the kids of the importance of surrounding ourselves with people of quality. People who help us go harder and deeper when necessary while helping bring out the best in each other.
Had a conversation with my daughter about dad and she said she believed my stories “but that is not the grandpa I knew.”
It is a bittersweet comment because she repeated the same thing her brother and cousins said, “I didn’t think of grandpa as being sick until the end.”
I knew far more than the kids and as the son I had decades upon decades of memories of a man who was physically able to do whatever he wanted to.
Though some changes happened slowly they were still dramatic to me because I was very aware of when he stopped asking me to walk with him so that we could go get tools and work on something together.
I figured some of it was because it was easier for me to crawl under, climb up or assume awkward positions than it was for him.
Most of the time I didn’t really care, even when he would share ideas on how I ought to do it.
I kind of miss asking him if he wanted to switch places.
What jumps out at me now is not how he stopped doing the work but how he stopped giving me the list of things to do.
Hindsight is 20/20, so it is easy to look back and realize that he didn’t have the energy to do that anymore and that he had to focus on the things that used to be easy, like walking and breathing.
Were he here I’d tell him a million things, one of which is certainly how I hope not to ever get sick like him.
But if I do, I want to hear me described in the same way, one where no one thinks of me as being sick.
That is a worthwhile achievement.