Going Gently into the Light

All I want is to be gentle and to have the right to be gentle. It is not my time to protest anymore, but giving it up feels like an abandonment not only of those in need and those in pain and those in loss, but of myself, of the spirit of my younger self. It is confused by my physical weariness.

Some people climb the Himalayans in their 70s or even 80s, but that will not be me.

I am not complaining, though I am baffled. Doctors do not decipher my weariness, they prescribe or they look at me slightly askance as though someone who looks as I look must be a malingerer, or neurotic, certainly unrealistic and narcissistic. They are not inside my body.

I am not a malingerer. My body and my mind are weary. Wrong, only part of my mind is weary. One part is burstingly alive, radiant, claiming, grabbing, and appalled at the other half.

Forget names, forget the names of things, forget the sequence of events over the past week, forget spellings.

Doctors say is it usual. It is NOT usual. It is not acceptable, though I try, when I am not angry or frightened.

Have you noticed how we never grow up? How dreams and thoughts take us back to childhood, and there it revamps things? It makes memories and some good guys problematic, but more, it makes some bad guys good. We come to understand those who hurt us and accept the cages that destroyed them and harmed us. We become organisms that forgive, even as some people must be written off.

And even that loses meaning too with time.

I don’t want to be the old woman in the chair in the corner, and it is difficult to imagine I will be even as I might be. “She was so vital,” they’ll say. “She was something in her day.”

I just want to be gentle and gracious and generous and to have flashes of brilliances. Strangely I do have flashes of brilliance, mostly private. They come as gifts special delivery from a bright and shining light, and they blow me away. No, they lift me, and fly me to clean places where for a moment I am where forever lives.

I just want to be gentle and know that I too will be forgiven for wrongs and errors, and that I have a right to be gentle, that the world will be safe enough for the elderly to be gentle if they need be, without guilt, that we can mourn our losses quietly and let joy flow like light through our veins without guilt for not having done more.

Perhaps this will change, perhaps my body will find a key to turn that brings it back to power and rambunctiousness, and I would accept that gladly. Who wouldn’t? Reality has always included miracles we can work towards and be open to, but not command.

Perhaps the miracle is that, as my body gentles itself, love occupies all its spaces.



12 thoughts on “Going Gently into the Light

  1. This is beauty. This is love. This is special. This is you. Your words are diamonds! You are valuable at any given stage. And don’t you forget that.

    • Thank you so much, dear Khadeejah. When I think of being younger, I think of you. You live so large and beautifully!

  2. I love this essay, Patricia, as I am in a very fragile place myself, forgetting, weapy, weary, and have taken the rest of 2017 off and now not sure if I will be able to or even want to come back in Jan of 2018 to my old self or evan an invigorated self. I’m not sure how I want to be in the world. I instictively know I don’t want the role of widow. I’m wanting to be gentle with myself and forgiving and slow moving and enjoy each day, and come what may! I’m enjoying writing to Chuck each day in a journal, missed today and I see that I need to do it as the day goes better with that little bit of time acknowleging that he is still with me in spirt.

    Thank you for writing, I feel comforted by your expressing what is going on for you, I don’t feel so alone.

    • Dear Mares, you have had such a huge loss. You were graced with such love over so many years.

      I think of you often and have missed your voice. You cannot come back as you were but you can come back to a beautiful life. Please be kind to yourself and patient. You are precious.


    • I want to add . . . If what I wrote makes you feel less alone during this time, it is a blessing for both of us.

  3. Oh, sweetheart! I do hope your bodily strength returns, but you are standing strong in any case. Your title says it all. Go forward gently, being kind to yourself first of all, and know that you are greatly loved.

  4. Sheffield: Circa 1950’s. Our school days together there are long gone, but hold many fond memories. Time has brought many changes and challenges to all of our lives, but I hope the positives can put up a good fight against the negatives, bringing you the peace you seek. Contact me and maybe we can unearth some of those good times together.

    • How extraordinary to hear from you! You cross my mind every so often. To this day I have a reminder of you, as you once landed on my left toes in basketball practice and I realized only later that something was broken in the small toe. It never hurt very much, but it never bent right from that day on! … 🙂

      I’ve had my share of negatives but the positives are winning. You are still in or around Sheffield, yes?

      • It’s nice to be remembered, even in a somewhat embarrassing way! That’s probably a very good reason that I didn’t continue to play basketball, or enjoy sports, for that matter. I also suffered a broken little toe when someone kicked me instead of the soccer ball in a college gym class.
        No, I left Iowa after college, in 1964. Be glad to share more with you in a less public setting, like a private email address.?? I used to have one for you and we exchanged quick messages years ago. But that address contained the name of your former spouse, so doubt you use it anymore.

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