Getting Old

It’s said that getting old ain’t for sissies. True, that.

It ain’t the aches and pains, the three trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night, the weird medical shit that pops up, the eyesight failing, the hearing loss, the fear of falling, the giving up of foods you once loved. It’s death. Not so much your own death, though that is part of it. Death takes on a whole new emotional weight when you hit your 8th decade, when your idols begin to die, the novelists, the poets, the musicians, the actors who defined a large part of your life on this planet. You see them slipping away, never to write another novel or poem, sing another song, act another part. If they are younger than you you lament their too soon loss. Their being older than you makes it a tad easier to take, but not by much, you still lament the loss. But there is a distance there, a distance that makes it … what?, easier to take?

It’s the ones closer to you that really shove death in your face, regardless of what age they went to blue. My sister died a year or so back. She was 18 months younger than me. I was the wild one, living always on the edge. She had settled, had a loving husband, a loving family. She died. I live. What the fuck is that about? Pitter Pat gone to blue.

My longest friend died a couple of months back. I’ve known Richard since the early 70s. Granted, we hadn’t been close these last years but still. We had some wild times. He was several years younger than me. Now he’s gone and I’m still here. Richard gone to blue.

Osama bin Terrorcat disappeared in early August. An emaciated bag of bones that showed up at my house in Albuquerque over 10 years ago she was hell on wheels. She was brain damaged, inclined toward the weirdest shit, she started howling like a banshee a month back, tore around the house and before I could catch her she ripped a screen open and jumped out. By the time I got outside, she was gone. Haven’t seen her since. Osama gone to blue.

A week or so back my friend Steve died. Heart attack, just dropped dead, no warning, no reprieve. He was 10 years younger than me, a lovely wife, cool kids, a nice home. Gone to blue.

And now Maya. 3 years old at best. When she was a wee kitten, she would crawl under the covers and sleep by my feet. She came home the other night reduced from fat and sassy to bag of bones. I took her to the vet. Blood tests revealed that her kidneys were severely damaged. She got into something bad, a poisoned mouse maybe. She was a mouser. Maybe something else. The vet didn’t know. Neither do I.

She managed to slip out of the house this evening. It is the way of cats, to hide when they are dying. I have looked everywhere to no avail. In all likelihood she has gone, or is going, to blue.

I hate this. I hate loss. I wonder why I’m still alive. All things considered, I shouldn’t be.

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