Do not go mild into that great night.Old age should burn and rave at close of day; Rage, rage against the dying of the
light.– Dylan Thomas Aging with Our Shih-Tzu
Old people like to
talk about their pains and pains. I
‘ve forborne doing that, but as I reflect on my recent birthday (In a few years I’ll remain in my tenth years), it struck me that if I did so, I might find a therapeutic context for my own indications of senility.And there is a medical history in our house that will assist in this.
A couple of years back, we had a Shih-Tzu, Toby, who at 14 unexpectedly began revealing indications of aging. His tail, instead of arching over his back, sagged a growing number of. He hopped, favoring the 2 legs that were most likely arthritic. Although blind, he had actually navigated well over a big lawn and chaotic rooms throughout the preceding 4 years. But he started to run into objects increasingly more, and without the sound of our voices to guide, would be reluctant– as if to contemplate” where am I and what am I doing here?”. Toby’s bark was still imperious as he asked to be discharged or in; in spite of
the drooping tail, his spirit seemed to be good until the last couple of months.( My spouse contends that he had racial memories of being a spoiled animal in the home of the Chinese Empress and condescended to stick with us round-eyed peasants. )He grew rather scrawny in his old age– ribs and foundation were noticeable. (That’s one attribute of old age I want I would replicate.) At the end he had difficulty standing and had been incontinent for about 6 weeks– we had actually utilized infant diapers(# 1)
and a wrap to decrease tidying up. Among our other pets, an extremely sensitive and intelligent terrier mix, was extremely disturbed by all this. He would avoid going into the space where Toby slept, and when in the space would smell and nuzzle him. Toby’s last days were especially bad; there were durations when he would continually utter a high, piercing cry, unlike any bark or whimper he had actually voiced previously. We would reorganize him on his bed, assist him to stand, use him water or food, which would appear to offer him a little peace. Lastly, when he declined food or beverage and was unable to stand or stroll at all, we chose it was time to put him to sleep at the age of 17( 119 human years?). It was really hard.And must I be put down when I end up being infirm?And here comes the point of contrast. I myself am discovering a slow-down. I now find it difficult to do backyard work that was simple a few years back. As a point of pride
and for cardio-vascular exercises, I used to avoid elevators. Now it’s rarely that I go up or down stairs except in our house, and then I plan errands to reduce trips in between floors.And when I get to Toby’s state should I be put down, euthanized? Here’s a question: why is it allowable to euthanize a family pet, but not a human? And here’s the response: human beings have a special soul, an intellective soul, to use a scholastic term. We
can understand of our own death; we can understand of a God; we are developed unique. C.S. Lewis has written a last chapter in his book “On the Issue of Pain “that deals with this concern. His answer, which I like quite, is that man is meant to be head of the kingdom(as in Eden)and will remain in heaven with the animals who have been his companions in life.Watching the Old People at the Nursing House”You are old, Daddy William, “the boy stated,”And your hair has ended up being extremely white; And yet you persistently base on your head– Do you believe, at your age, it is right?” “In my youth,”Dad William replied to his kid”I feared it might hurt the brain; However, now that I’m perfectly sure I have none, Why, I do it once again and once again.”– Lewis Carroll This is the huge concern: what should be done when or if my mind becomes as decrepit as mybody? I see signs of what could take place when Iattend Masses kept in the chapel of a localassisted living home, managed by an order of Catholic Nuns. The Assisted living home is likewise a rehab center for clientswith Alzheimer’s and other senile psychological disorders. A number of the senior nuns are there for eitherphysical rehab, nursing care, or Alzheimer
‘s. About 10 to 15 of us non-patients(consisting of some still active nuns) participate in Mass there on a semi-regular, twice-a-week basis. We sit in chairs along the back and among the side walls. The primary part of the room is empty in order to hold the 10 to 15 wheel-chairs in phalanx rows; there are four or 5 patients in wheel chairs against the opposite wall. A couple of rows of chairs are placed in the space for buddies and loved ones of the clients so that they can sit alongside the wheel chairs of their liked ones.
2 or three attendants and nuns sit along the back wall. Nobody increases or kneels throughout the Mass– it would be an upsetting suggestion to those in the wheel chairs who can not do so. As is typical in Catholic Churches, one beings in a popular place.During Mass I occasionally hear among the patients(not one of the nuns)making a remark– “that’s beautiful “,”praise God “,”where’s my watch “,”thank you Daddy”. As the priest makes his rounds distributing Holy Communion to each people, visitors and clients, I search for and see among the clients sleeping; the priest or EMOHC(a nun) will gently nudge the patient and slip a little portion of the Host into her mouth.One of the nuns commemorated her 82nd anniversary in the Order a couple of weeks ago and her 100th birthday a week later on. She looks out and typically not one of those sleeping as Holy Communion is provided. I see another nun, sleeping throughout the Mass; her hands are folded in prayer, but she appears unconcerned to all that goes on around her, even when asked to get the Host. I recall some five or 6 years earlier– she was sharp, witty, alert, managing a big business for the order. What are her interior ideas now, I wonder? Her hands are folded in prayer– does that posture mirror an interior devotion?Which direction will I take– will the exterior display screen of the mind go? Will there still be an interior self to consider and pray?MEMENTO MORI” If I had my life to live over again, I would form the habit of nightly composing myself to ideas of death. I would practice, as it were, the remembrance of death. There is not another practice which so intensifies life. Death, when it approaches, ought not to take one by surprise. It must become part of the full span of life.”– Muriel Spark, Keepsake Mori And as I think of aging and last days, I recall the Ash Wednesday injunction:” Keep in mind guy, thou art dust and unto dust thou will return”. The Latin slogan,”Keepsake Mori”(bear in mind that
you need to die)was very important in Middle ages times for those pursuing an ascetic discipline, to sharpen their thoughts to the hereafter.”Keepsake
Mori”is the title of a terrific book by Muriel Glow about forethoughts of death and how they boost life. In the book a group of senior people– arty and social types– get occasional telephone call (before the days of mobile phone)” remember you should die”. Their lives go on, perturbed rather by the calls, but not exceedingly so. As some confront death, they compose themselves for an end to life , as the quote above suggests. At the end of the unique it is unclear who has been sending out the phone messages– maybe God?So, as we age we contemplate that”undiscovered nation “. We hope we are made strong by faith; that by faith even though it be imperfect, we will find that our Lord, in His unlimited capability for forgiveness, will not look too harshly on our sins.
This content was originally published here.
This content was originally published here.