Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Part 56 of the "you know you're getting old when" chronicles...

I've been getting calls and updates from my mother all year about my grandparents. My grandfather has been battling prostate cancer, and my grandmother is the in early to mid stages of dementia. My grandfather is at that age (84) where chemo would really take too much of a toll on his body, so he just kind of lives with it. My grandmother is a spry 77 years old, and she can still out-talk anyone on the face of this Earth, but she's slowing down, forgetting things more often, and facing limitations. Up until now, my grandparents have been living in house in Akron, Ohio, and my mother and uncle try to check on them once a week. But recently, remedial tasks like taking out the trash and going to the store to get groceries have become huge challenges, and our family has decided to put them in a retirement community, which is a glorified nursing home, but not really.

In 3 weeks, my mother and uncle will be having a send off party of sorts for my grandparents, and my lady and I will be there to support them. I am ashamed to say that I have not seen my grandmother since 2007, and I haven't seen my grandfather or been to Akron since 2006. I kept saying I'd get there, and then I would selfishly thrust my life and its issues ahead of my family, and before I knew it, a full 2-3 years had elapsed. The last time I saw them, their challenges had not really kicked in full throttle, so it was like old times (no pun intended). Now, I am mentally preparing myself to be alarmed at the differences, and it just sucks, but its reality. Not only that, I have to pay close attention to how my parents age, but I wil find myself in similar situations eventually.

The second way I know I'm getting old is a little more light hearted. Last night, former Georgetown star Alonzo Mourning got his jersey retired by the Miami Heat. I can distinctly remember being an 11-12 year old kid, reading the high school section of Street and Smiths College Basketball magazine, and seeing Alonzo Mourning's name as a future college star. Then I remember being in high school and seeing Alonzo dominate and intimidate everyone at Georgetown. Once I went to THE Hampton University, Alonzo was with the Charlotte Hornets, and because the Hampton area didn't have a professional basketball team, and Charlotte was just a couple hours away, at least 3 or 4 times a week, Alonzo was on the local networks, playing hard, starting fights and battling with Shaq. Once I was out of college and into the working world, Alonzo moved to the Miami Heat, retired because of a kidney disorder, had a transplant, came back and won a title, and I ALWAYS followed his career with interest and intrigue. So when I saw him crying and getting emotional, I got a little choked up too.

I didn't cry though

Norman Brown - Acoustic Time

1 comment:

Janelle said...

I'm sure the visit with the grandparents will wash away any guilt you may feel about not seeing them as often as you would like. I can't wait to read about your Akron adventure! (I know you, mannn..there's bound to be a BLD adventure in there somewhere...hahahahahhaa).