I’ve always been puzzled by the saying: “Only the good die young.” Now, I’ve decided that’s because old age is at least purgatory, if not hell.
Recently a friend’s husband, who has both a broken shoulder similar to mine before my surgery and loss of muscle in his legs like my husband has right now from being in the hospital, somehow slipped down between the bed and and a low, but heavy bedside chest of drawers and couldn’t get up. If you have the black humor most of us old guys have developed, her description of figuring out how to free him without hurting him would have you howling with laughter and wishing she had gotten a video for U tube.
If, however, you are twenty years younger, you would know that anyone under sixty would want to put their eyes out and run screaming from the sight of the video. Nobody wants to know about the ridiculous, humiliating and painful experiences of old age before they have to deal with their own.
The grace in all this is that these events give us our black humor and we laugh a whole lot, in fact pretty much all the time. The other good thing is, if your marriage lasts this long, you get over a hell of a lot of silly sparring and blaming. You have to become a team or you won’t survive. And since you both get turns being the one needing help, there’s a lot more empathy and tenderness that comes from the challenges.
So it seems to me that maybe old age is just a sort of refining purgatory. That would help make some sense out of it.