If I Could Move My Mind Backwards

“People are living too long,” my mother said to me when I called her this weekend, to tell her about David’s father’s stroke, and that we were heading to Lancaster to help.  My parents have lost many friends over the past decade, and watched many more slide into increasing incapacitation.

But is it that people are living too long, or are we keeping people alive too long, or is it just that life is essentially hard, and aging is a difficult process with inevitable loss at the end?

When we arrived in Lancaster yesterday, David’s mother looked up at us from her chair with red, tearful eyes.  She’s bewildered and scared, the knowledge of the fundamental change coming in her life lying like a hard weight at the bottom of the sea she swims in, bits of reality floating by that she’s able to hang on to.

“If I could move my mind backwards I’d be able to understand how I got here,” she said, revealing the magical thinking that some different turn somewhere could have made a difference, alongside the awareness that there is no going back, and we’re only here.   Now.

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