Walk in woodsWho knew it would ever be a struggle to get two arms into a simple fleece? Or get up from a chair or pull up my pants? Hard to cut a piece of chicken or hold a cup of coffee? Or safely take a walk? And what about reading the tiny words in the many magazines I’ve had to cancel?

Who knew? The Suzanne of even two years ago didn’t know. She hadn’t a clue. She can hardly believe it now. The good news is some of my problems might be correctable, if you don’t mind a little uncertain surgery.

But for now, so it is, my friends, so it is. And for my most challenging problem—chronic fatigue and severe depletion—there’s no diagnosis and, so, no obvious cure. Who knew?

People must have known but didn’t tell me. Or maybe I wasn’t listening. Surely there are libraries full of books about the exigencies of sudden, terrifying aging. Apparently I wasn’t interested. I must’ve been too busy living the blessed life I took completely, madly for granted.

Life with my beloved husband and partner and best friend. A life where I could hop in the car and drive myself anywhere I wanted to go. Or take long walks in the woods and by the sea. A life where I was interested in good food and books and the possibilities of the future. A very different life than the one I am living now. Who knew?

I feel a little blindsided. Rather like I did when I had a baby and was thrown totally for a loop by a host of radical changes I had somehow not anticipated. But maybe no one can prepare you for how difficult it is to start a family or end a life. Let alone live it.

Of course beginnings and endings are not so difficult for everybody. For some people, life is all about being a parent whatever it takes. I know women who seem born for that first baby and can hardly wait for the next. And good for them!

Never mind the inconveniences, the extreme changes of the first few months—and the next 18 years. (I did it twice and I’m beyond glad I did, by the way.) And some people’s lives end quickly and gracefully at 90 years old with a gentle heart attack in their sleep. Good Karma, I’d say.

I’m not here to scare the shit out of you, really. I’m here to remind us that we need to love the hell out of each other through thick and thin. Most of us get pretty good at holding it together, making it look as if things are a whole lot more manageable than they often are.

So please, instead of holding ourselves together at all costs, let’s hold *each other* tight and remember that things are not necessarily as they seem. Cling fast to the idea that we, who are all tragically, magically born to die, are in this gory, glorious soup together from beginning to end. Bon appetit!

About the Author: Suzanne Grenager

A seasoned writer and mentor with a gift for helping people see and be their most authentic, empowered Self.

7 Comments

  1. Marcia V. Ormsby, M.D. January 26, 2023 at 9:04 am - Reply

    Your post brought tears, many of them! I so identify with your struggle and altho I have no answers, I have plenty of questions too! Reading Jack Kornfield, Thich Khat Hanh and Viola Davis ’Finding Me’ have helped but finding my own heart is a painful search. Reminding me of the story of the Musk Deer who had, in his youth smelled the most wonderful aroma, ever. He searched the world wide to again smell that; he traveled throughout until he was old and ready to die. Upon his falling to his death, a branch pierced his heart and he finally found his own body contained the aroma for which he searched all his life. Let us not wait to die to know our own hearts, Suzanne, bless you!

    • Suzanne Grenager January 26, 2023 at 10:04 am - Reply

      What a beautiful and moving comment, dear Marcia. Thanks so much for posting it here.

  2. MaurieA January 26, 2023 at 9:04 pm - Reply

    Came, read, devoured!

    • Suzanne Grenager February 1, 2023 at 12:48 pm - Reply

      Thank you! Devoured is good.

  3. Jean Lumpkin January 28, 2023 at 3:26 pm - Reply

    Beautifully said, Suzanne! I also feel a little blindsided, though if I
    look back over the last few years I can see the changes – the fatigue
    and sometimes unsteadiness – didn’t happen all of a sudden. (And how
    come medication instructions of all things are impossible to read!).
    Friends and family members are facing challenges, dying, or moving away
    to be near their children at a time when it is hard to fill the holes
    those changes make in my life. Still there is so much good! I just need
    to rethink some of what I thought I might be able to do in the years I
    have left.

    • Suzanne grenager February 1, 2023 at 12:53 pm - Reply

      Amen! I’m sorry about the challenges you too have to contend with. But your attitude inspires me, dear Jeanie. And yes, a lot of rethinking going on over here too. Life has never seemed more mysterious.

  4. BJ January 28, 2023 at 4:11 pm - Reply

    Oh dear Suzanne. I thought it was just me and my new knee. I feel so guilty being indolent, although I am really not capable of much. Sometimes I channel my mother who lived to be 101; she would tell me, “Oh just relax.” With that, I am going to lie down and read or fall asleep.

    Wish I could give you a hug and it would be all better,

    BJ

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