Aging: Dealing With ‘It May Not Get Any Better”

Oct 26th, 2010 | By | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Most of us prefer days in which our dispositions declare “what a glorious day” it is!  Most of us are disinclined to answer the question “how are you,” with a litany of woes.  Most of us try to observe our aging with some  objectivity.  We try to avoid getting too focused on the minituae of our aches and pains, or, for that matter, that of others. 

Then, along comes some unusual physical, biological impairment and we grow concerned. We rush to the conclusion:  “what if it doesn’t get any better.”  These are the promptings which require us to enjoy where we are and how we are with as much satisfaction and pleasure as we can.  Eventually, our bodies have a way of whispering, sometimes shouting, at us letting us know there is a condition slipping up on us. 

At such times it will be ours to decide how we will receive the communication.  Overreaction is not a healthy choice.  Ignoring the message is not advised.  Home remedies may work for a time.  At some point it may be prudent to seek professional care.  And, it is at this point that our readiness to deal with the outcome will be vitally important.  For, we want to keep our vitality so long as we can.

A  recent experience served as a reminder that when we are met with certain physical challenges, it may not get any better.  A well respected, highly active, thoroughly well rounded local friend and community leader was struck with symptoms requiring a trip to a highly nationally respected cancer clinic in Houston.  Many of us had been together for a birthday celebration of another friend only a week or so earlier.  It was a time of laughter, good times, happy moments. At that time,

little was known other than an impending diagnosis and tests were in the offing.  Shortly, thereafter, following the battery of extensive tests, the verdict was handed down.  Our friend was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.  The candid assessment of the physicians was that it was untreatable.  His life span, maybe a year!  This is true shock and awe for family and friends, and, of course, the patient.

What a debilitating shock.  Emotions and empathy run deep.  Words are slow to come.  Whispers of “it may not get any better” become statements of fact.  There is only one thing to do:  prepare for the eventuality.  Cultivate the presence of courage.  Enable the strength of spirit.  Share the source of strength.  Live with the expectation of as much as you can get out of living.  Grant to others the courtesy of  demonstrating how wonderful grace is.  Allow others to share with you the extension of their caring, their affection, their sense of how precious your times together are.  Don’t dwell on self-pity, and, for God’s sake, don’t allow others to throw pity parties.  Maintain the upbeat.  Develop your sense of purpose at this time, in this condition, in a way that others may catch your inspiration. Let it be known, “it may not get any better.”  And, go on to other things.  Giving permission for the disease to be the master of this moment is only surrendering.  Show others that this battle, while likely impossible to win, is not impossible to wage with a sense of ready encouragement , an attitude of final victory.

Terminal illnesses are a source by which reality tests our readiness to deal with life.  Some look to the possibility of miracle cures.  Others anticipate that any means necessary should be used to head off the worst outcome. Preparations are called for.  Delay and denial will not enable tranquility.  Facing what  is to come is the means for exercising a full declaration of readiness.  Knowing “it will not get any better” is not the moment for giving up, it is the moment for demonstrating why life is a series of connected moments which finally brings you to this final act.  How you live it, how you accommodate it, how you demonstrate for others the way it is done will be the last gift you may share.  Make appropriate decisions, counsel others in handling their grief, give witness to why strength and courage are important especially now. 

If “it may not get any better,” at least you can give it the best you can.  Others will be enriched and strengthened by your resolve.  In finality comes peace and pride of how well the inevitable was managed.

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  1. Aging: Dealing With 'It May Not Get Any Better' | Senior Citizen ……

    Here at World Spinner we are debating the same thing……

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