Melancholy

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That word sounds like it should mean something other than sadness.  Perhaps the vague similarity to melody which is a happier word makes me think that.  Well this past weekend has left me somewhat in that state.

I’ve mentioned before that as I’ve grown older, I realize I am much more of a summer person.  Summer is warmth, light, color, life.  Winter is cold, dark, grey, monochromatic, death.  I know the seasons cycle and change and that spring will follow winter with the rebirth but these last warm days of late summer to early fall always leave me feeling a little sad.  The sun doesn’t stay out as long and the air is cooler at night and the hint of leaves changing are just the first clues of the long cold night to come.

This feeling was heightened by our long weekend to visit my parent.  No, the visit was fine but the emotions it has triggered have left me in this mood.  I was up to see them in the middle of July with the rest of the family and then the little resort town they live in was alive and bustling and full of the goodness that is summer.  Now, the vibe has changed.  There are still people but there are jackets and stores that have closed for the season and those with reduced hours.  The beach store with everything half off again gives the clue that it will be a long time before there is a need for swimwear and that long days of sitting on the beach enjoying the warmth are over.

My parents have lived a long time and have been able to do and see a lot and, yet, life has taken so much from them in the past couple of years that it all seems so unfair.  My father, the college professor, who so enjoyed reading and his stamp collection have had those taken from him by failing eyesight.  Unable to refresh his mind with facts, he is relegated to asking me to use my magic smart phone to look things up for him.  Technology that he won’t embrace and can’t understand is now his lifeline to information.  The lack of vision has robbed him of his independence forcing him to rely on my mother for transportation.

My mother who had a spurt in her life where she got into shape and discovered the fun of being active has had that taken from her by her lungs which now make it hard for her to breathe just climbing a flight of stairs.  So she chooses (or refuses) to go out unless it is necessary and spends her time on her new lap top which we got so she could stay upstairs as much as possible.  They stay together now more out of a sense of mutual obligation rather than anything else as they are basically trapped together in the house as winter closes in.  While it sounds morbid, I do wonder if both of them will see the next year and get one more summer in the sun and warmth.  I do hope so although I know there are a limited number of summers left for both of them.

The conversations are nice although they do focus on the past and the good memories that they have – even though there are gaps for both of them.  I artfully dodge the few political comments my father tosses my way.  It just isn’t my way to argue and I prefer not to waste the time we have left.  There is little talk of my present or future.  But that is understandable as they really can’t truly know me as I’m only know starting to discover myself.  I do think they are happy with how I’ve turned out even if they can’t come out and say it.

I sometimes wonder if they wish they could turn back time and do things differently but there is no reason to bring that up.  The truth is we don’t get to do that. Time rolls on and nobody can roll it back.  Decisions that are made have consequences and life doesn’t always turn out as we planned and you life with the life you’ve created not the life you wish you had.  But perhaps we shouldn’t be in such a hurry for time to pass.  We all want the weekend to get here sooner or wish that time could speed up when we are close to something important or pleasant.  Maybe we should all just slow down and find something to enjoy about every day since we all get a limited number of them.

It was a good visit.  But with all that goes on, it leaves me sad.  It leaves me wanting time to stop so they will always be there but I know that isn’t possible either.  It is funny to have such mixed emotions.  At this stage, it is somewhat exhausting to visit them and yet I don’t want to think about them not being there.

And now I’m back.  I pick up the dogs tomorrow and go to work and will be dancing tomorrow night.  All will be as it normally is for me.  I know this feeling will fade but I wanted to capture it and get it out to face it.  As with everything else, I choose to share this with an anonymous group of people instead of my family but that is my way and what I’ve chosen to do.

2 comments

  1. I can relate, Wall. I found it heartbreaking to watch my parents deteriorate a little more every year. I hope my two sons are spared that…and they might be. While no one can know what lies ahead, I’ve been fortunate to have known two people who lived well into their 90s, with their faculties intact. One died in his sleep, and the other developed a cancer that took her very quickly. Both individuals had a zest for life right up until the end. I think I’m going to emulate them. I really do.

  2. Melancholia affects us all; when I see my uncle deteriorate, it hits me. He’s got Alzheimer’s, and I rarely see him. When I do, he’s way further down the slope than before.

    By the way, you’ve been chosen as one of today’s nine blogs in That’s So Jacob’s Ninth Month Blog Challenge (http://www.thatssojacob.wordpress.com)! I challenge you to find nine blogs you find interesting and give them a comment to brighten their day…well, eight other blogs and mine 🙂 Copy this message in your comment and enjoy your new blog friends!

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