the other night I drove past my grandparent's house and saw two cars in the driveway--my grandfather's large truck and the Cadillac my Nonna owned while she was alive.
I thought back to when my mom, with a quivering lip, told me that my grandfather officially had to take the keys away from my Nonna. She was getting too old to drive and he had a clear enough head to make that decision for her. She would never drive herself anywhere again.
My grandfather is approaching his mid-80's, but he only just retired this year for medical practice. He's pretty self capable between tending to his giant garden or taking care of his dog or going hunting or sailing his boat. However, it was was my Nonna who started to slip first. She worked up until a certain point, but with six kids spread out over 15 years, she eventually became the doctor's housewife. She volunteered around town and was the famous local artist in the area, constantly in the newspaper for her talents. Eventually smoking got the best of her and let Emphysema take her lungs and old age take her mind. Trips to the hair dresser or the food store or to the shore became difficult for her. She started to travel with a friend and then she eventually was escorted by family members.
I think about that day a lot. The day when someone had to make a life changing decision for her. She probably barely noticed. At that point she was having normal days and flighty days. She'd either be very aware or childlike, not really focused on things going on around her.
I think was saddens me the most is that one day that might happen for me--The day that I may no longer remember how to do some simple things as driving or using the phone or making dinner. There will come a time when our kids will get the best of us. We stop remembering how well we played the game. They'll whisper to their friends, "They won't know the difference" or perhaps, "They have no clue what's going on." And maybe we won't. Rationality eventually gets the best of us and soon imagination drifts away as fast as our youth did. We'll have grandkids and mix up their names, possibly with out own kid's names. They'll stamp their feet in frustration or just roll their eyes and not bother to correct us.
Isn't it strange how with age we are supposed to become smarter, wiser but it lasts only briefly until we return to a childlike state? I fear it. I fear aging and loss of imagination. Of growing up and forgetting the tricks and ideas of youth. Of the desire to be better than those who came before me. I want to hold on to it and keep it forever. But we can't. Time is always passing.