The Storms of Aging



       Storms come and go in our lives.  Sometimes the storm passes quickly as summertime afternoon showers.  Yet, at other times, the storm sets in and continues to saturate everything with which it comes into contact.

          The storm of growing old has settled onto my grandparents.  I have been truly blessed to have them as part of my life since the beginning of life for me.  And now, well into their eighties, their quality of life has slipped away and is fading into darkness.

          My grandmother and grandfather have enjoyed life to its fullest.  They have worked together for at least thirty years in their family-owned business; they have had the luxury of traveling extensively; they have enjoyed watching children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren grow; and they have danced.  They have truly enjoyed life in a fashionable and exuberant manner.  But now, over eighty years have passed, and life no longer has the same effervescence that it once did.  The vitality and excitement of youth has slowly slipped into night.  The dismal reality of my grandfather’s loss of his mind brings great sadness to a family that has upheld him as a man of integrity, love, and character.  His outbursts of violence are totally uncharacteristic of him – a man who was once filled with so much compassion for all.

          And yet my grandmother has taken on a completely new roll in the late evening of her life.   Instead of being mother and grandmother, her petite, weakened, yet determined being has become responsible for caring for my grandfather – her soul mate.  Her pride in her appearance is not as heightened as it once was.  Her once smooth and delicate face now mirrors the destruction of nerves and skin from surgery after being diagnosed with melanoma.  Yet in spite of this mark of disease, her face continues to have the softness and beauty that only a mother and grandmother could have.

          Relationships, as does life, go undaunted by sorrow and difficulties.  The storms of life are experienced by all.  And as we wade through these difficulties, it is no wonder that we find solace in the very thing that is the nucleus of the human race – the family.  However severe these storms may be, we must trust that clear skies will once again reappear.