I understand with simple reasoning why time flies. Each year is faster than the last – in our minds. But time only exists in our minds. When a 10 year old kid is enjoying an endless summer (remember?), it really does seem endless. After all, one year at that age is 10% of our ten year old life.
Next Sunday my mom starts her 10th decade on earth. One year is only 1% of her life. Her last ten years have flown by at the same “mind-speed” as only one year did when she was ten years old.
As for each of us, aging does weird things to our mind clocks. It seems I was just back in Indiana visiting a rather depressed mother who didn’t want to be in a nursing home. To bring her some cheer, maybe a smile, I told her I would fly back and throw her a 99th birthday party the end of April.
She said, “Absolutely not!” She didn’t want no damn party. She was through with parties. Her broken foot had not healed well and she was unable to return home after therapy. While sitting for five months in a wheel chair those old leg muscles had atrophied. She couldn’t stand without falling over. A nursing home was not her “end of life” plans. Dying at home, like Dad did, that was her only prayer.
The nursing home trap is very similar to the emotional stages of grief. First, my mom was in denial…believing she would get stronger and walk out of that place. Second stage was anger. She was mostly pissed at her God for sticking her there. Her third stage was bargaining. She figured if she prayed, pleaded and bargained, she could trade her death now instead of a younger person or child. Nope, she was still stuck there. The fourth stage was depression. Especially over the holidays and throughout the polar vortex. She saw nothing but snow, ice, wind, rain and icicles out her small window for months on end.
Then the fifth stage finally appeared a month ago. Acceptance. Her voice was higher, happier, and filled with plans. She now wanted that birthday party. She really loved her room-mate. She likes being helped with her shower twice a week. She likes the caring staff that brings her pills, fluffs her pillows, and hugs her. Suddenly the food seemed to improve overnight. The five pounds she lost have suddenly become eight pounds found. She’s tipping the scale at 103 and bitching about it.