Monday, April 20, 2009

Growing Old Separate

Sometimes I see them at Walgreens buying cough drops. Or driving together; both seated low in their seats, eyes fixed on the road. Sometimes I see them at the hospital; waiting at the doctor's office holding hands. Together. A man and a woman . . . a couple . . . growing old together.

As I look over at my husband Paul seated at the clinic, IV in his arm delivering chemotherapy, I realize we are growing old separate.

Only two years ago he was throwing our children over his shoulder, hoisting large boulders into place on the jobsite, and doing vigorous bench presses daily in our home gym. We exercised together, danced together and planned our lives together. Today everything is different.

We joke about the physical changes - and weep at them in less funny moments. It grieves us both to see . . . his body is tired and weak. It's like a time machine making him older quickly - and it's accelorated - but not me. A sad turn in the life you plan together . . . growing old separate.

Now I look at couples - elderly couples - and I think how lucky they are. To grow old together - at the same speed - on the same path. You can miss it because it is so incremental. What a blessed privelege . . . to grow old . . . TOGETHER.