Still Here, Only Older

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.

Another summer break comes to an end all too soon – and with projects left to finish (or to even begin).

Where does the time go?

When the summer began, as they all do, I had my list of things that I needed to accomplish before I had to get ready for the next year of school. Then come the surprises that beckon me off course. The best laid plans…, right?

You know what I’m doing now? I’m writing, even though my thoughts are scattered, and I’m afraid that my words won’t say what my heart feels very accurately. I’m writing, however, because today is an important day that I want to mark. My first blog post was published on this day, eight years ago, as a result of the prodding of people who believed in me, when I didn’t have enough belief in myself. If I fail to write at any other time, I try to at least post on this anniversary date, as a tribute to someone who breathed new life into me. I haven’t always made my mark, but I have always tried. Each year that passes is a not-too-gentle reminder that time is precious, and we can’t keep saving up for tomorrow.

Last weekend (I believe) I went to see the new M. Night Shyamalan movie, Old, because I am a fan of his storytelling, and because I had movie credits from before the pandemic that needed to be used. I went to the last showing of the evening, so there weren’t more than a dozen other people in the theater.

Warning: Spoiler Alert

I won’t ruin the movie completely for you, as you can get the gist of what I’ll say here from the trailer, but consider that I might spoil the way the story unfolds. This was not my favorite M. Night movie, but it had some poignancy. A family of four (Husband, wife, young girl and boy) traveled to an island that the wife had found via the internet. They had planned the vacation as a last hoorah before letting the kids know that they were planning to separate. After the first day on the island, they were told by the host that there was a special secluded beach that they don’t tell everyone about, but thought that their family would enjoy the peaceful surroundings with fewer people. The next morning, they, and two other families, are driven into a fenced off area, and dropped off on a walking path to the beach. After they arrive on the beach, and take in the beauty there, it isn’t long before they notice some strange happenings. Their young children run off to play for a short time, and come back looking a few years older. What they discover over the course of a few hours is that they are all aging rapidly, but it is much more obvious with the children. They also find that they are unable to leave the beach by the way they came. The reason that I bring up this movie, is because the characters in this story go through the process of aging a lifetime within a day. One especially poignant scene had the family of four sitting on the beach at dusk, resigned to their situation, sharing memories and marveling at the beauty before them, as the final seconds of their lives tic away. If there’s one thing that I know very well, it’s that time seems to speed up every year that we live – and more, when you are putting things off, or living for tomorrow.

We observed my mother’s 82nd birthday in a nursing home last month. She was there as a result of a fall back in April, where she sustained a traumatic brain injury. I confess that it’s been hard visiting her in the nursing home, because she has not been able to communicate very well. Sometimes I would spend most of my time watching her sleep, And breathe. As I would watch her, I quietly reflected on the loneliness that she must feel. For a short stint there, she had a room mate that would talk to her. Since then, she’s had two that don’t. It makes me sad because I understand. She is back in an ICU this week with pneumonia. They are keeping her sedated while they fight the infection. They have her on a ventilator now. She opened her eyes a little when I told her I was there today. It’s hard to see her that way. But it’s harder to think of all the time that she’s spent alone over the last almost four months.

Eventually, the sand runs out for each of us. Loneliness ends one way or another.

Enjoy those people that occupy space in your life while they do. Cherish them, and let them know that you do.

(I’m sorry for the melancholy in this post, but life is much too short not to share love lavishly today. Tomorrow is not promised.)