Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm Old Enough to Die

You're probably thinking that's a weird blog title.  Let me explain.  My 91 year old Oma (grandmother) spoke those words to me the other day when I was talking to her on the phone.  I had called her a couple of times to set up a lunch date, but her phone just rang and rang.  I got concerned and called my mom, but she informed me that Oma's phone hadn't been working for a while and they were trying to get it fixed.  Apparently they set up some sort of life-alert system for her so that if she ever fell or became unable to reach the phone to call for help, she could activate something on a bracelet that would dial for help.  It involved attaching something to her phone, which inadvertently led to the switch on the breaker being flipped and leaving her without phone service until someone figured that out.  Once that issue was cleared up, I called Oma back and our conversation included talk about the source of her phone problems.  I'm paraphrasing but she basically said that my dad (quote: "Oh, YOUR father") was worried about her ever needing help, so he set her up with that life alert system, which she thinks is silly.  She proceeded to tell me that she can't think of a scenario where she wouldn't be able to get to the phone to call for help, and even if one did emerge, she's "old enough to die."  (ass-sphincter-says-what?)  She further explained that I'm still young and have a lot of years left, but she's not and is therefore old enough to die.  It was heartbreaking for me to hear, but at the same time it was also an incredibly honest, rational statement for her to make.  There might be times where she momentarily lapses and calls me by my sister's name or forgets dates, but she's still very aware of what she's accomplished and experienced in life, and she isn't afraid of death.  I hope if I make it to her age, I'm similarly at peace with my life and realistic in my understanding and therefore, acceptance, of mortality.   

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