As I get older, I realized I have to face the reality of losing my parents. It hits a little different when it knocks on your door personally. When my mother told me about her cancer diagnosis, I immediately quit my part-time job to be available for her. I didn’t hesitate to leave Lowe’s. I had to make some drastic changes in my life to make sure my parents are taken care of. I have always helped others that were close to me that were diagnosed with cancer or other ailments. I have experienced friends and family take their last breath. Even I can admit, those experiences have taken a toll on me mentally. For so long, I took for granted the time that I would have with my parents, friends, and family. I realized I saw an unprecedented amount of RIP on social media that I have ever seen throughout my lifetime. I guess it’s part of getting older.
My father is more of a realist. He is a straight shooter and will say to me, “Tonya, when I die, you and your brother will have…. you can find all my…….. in…..”. This is how it sounds to me as he states it because I want to cherish our moments of laughter, back in the day tales, and drinks. I know the time will come when I have to deal with all of his business and personal belongings. I want to continue learning how to garden and make wine by my father. I want to continue learning how to clean weapons and take them apart. I see how he has changed over the years. My father moves a little slower. He relaxes a little more. He doesn’t eat the things he used to. He changed his entire lifestyle that comes with aging. But he has reassured me time and time again that he is at peace with dying. He has stated that he has lived his life to the fullest and is aware of the inevitable. I guess I ain’t ready for what life has in store when I get up in age.
My mother tries to save face during her journey with cancer. She constantly reminds me when I am doing something for her, “I don’t want to be a burden to you, Tonya. I don’t want to get on your nerves”. She doesn’t understand that it only frustrates me more when she says this. It comes a time when children will have to take care of their parents. It is part of the life cycle. It is not up for debate when it deals with them. I know she is scared to death right now because when life or death is a choice, you never know which way you will lean. You never know how long you are willing to fight for life or let go of all the pain that you are suffering. I watch her some days being hard-headed because she wants to continue moving like she used to. I even make sure to stay the same when we get into our mother-daughter spats hahaha!!! I don’t want her to feel that I am treating her differently and that we can still behave in a manner that will not change. She has even discussed how she wants her funeral, wants in her obituary and wants to be remembered. I sense the stress of it all that she is dealing with because she feels she hasn’t accomplished everything in life she wanted to. Because of that, she has restless nights and anxiety along with the pressure of fighting for her life.
I know everyone operates differently when they get up in age. But I just want to continue to be around peace and serenity. I want to enjoy my friends and children. I want to build relationships with people that are about substance and meaning. I want to misbehave sometimes and don’t give a shit about what others think. I want to continue to be upfront and transparent without someone taking it personally. I don’t have time to waste. Hell, I’m already tired of dealing with everyday Black people problems (if you are black, you know what I mean) hahaha!!! I will be damned if I am dealing with anything else that can drive my blood pressure up.
Start loving one another more without expecting something in return. Travel to those places you always wanted to go, even if it means you will go alone. Make time for your family and friends that you value, even if it is once a month. Tell people that you love them and mean it. Be okay with people that don’t fuck with you anymore. It is all part of life.
As you get older, your circle will change, and people will move in different directions. No one is supposed to remain the same as age progress. You become a little wiser. You see a little clearer even though your vision changes (this may have flown over your head). You move differently because you learn valuable lessons along the way. Age isn’t about a number; it’s maturity. Age is wisdom. Age is time. As we move further towards our time to leave this world, try to leave a legacy behind. You never know what you mean to someone as you get up in age.