I haven’t been writing because my grandfather passed away at the beginning of December and I had to go home to Michigan.
My grandfather was 91. He was extremely healthy for his age until the past few years. He had hernia surgery last year, in which he had a horrible reaction to the anesthesia. That was the beginning of his decline.
But for the majority of his life, he was healthy. The physical decline was especially difficult for him because his mental capacity was completely intact.
So I look at him, living a pretty healthy life, and I look at myself. And I just can’t imagine living until 91.
I don’t think I’m being pessimistic. I’m being realistic.
I have creaky joints. That’s a reality and a fact of life.
There are a host of health problems that come with RA that impact the entire body. There are the problems that come with having an overactive immune system. There are the side effects that come from taking heavy duty antibiotics for months or years at a time.
So it’s not just about having RA that makes me think I won’t make it to 91 like my grandfather. It’s the constellation of components that make me think something will get to me before I decide I’m ready for it.
After all, that’s how I got sick in the first place. I didn’t know what was happening, I didn’t have a choice in the matter. And that’s life.
So as I reflect on the life of my grandfather, I also find myself reflecting on my own life.
Many people have said that he was 91, so we shouldn’t be sad that he is gone. But that’s impossible. It’s tragic when a person dies untimely, so maybe my grandfather’s death isn’t tragic, but it is sad and has created a void in our lives that cannot be filled.
91 and healthy until basically the end. What did that mean for him? What does that mean for me?
I am grateful that I got to spend a significant portion of my life with my grandfather.
And I hope against hope that I will be able to live a long, full life despite my creaky joints and all of the problems that come with them.
And I hope that those of us with creaky joints realize how lucky we are to have the time that we do, even if life I is difficult, and sometimes it is hard to go on with life because of our illnesses.
This post is in memory of my grandfather, and celebrates all that was good about his life and helps me to think about all that is good in mine.