I have mentioned elsewhere how Mike saved me. When I was weighing out whether I should or could end my marriage, one of the pragmatic factors which came into play was my vague, lurking fear of being alone and helpless in my older years without anyone to help.
This is not an overwhelming, pervasive concern, but I recognize it’s a legitimate one. Part of the comfort of my marriage was knowing we’d always have each other to rely upon. There was a sense of stability, knowing we’d be a team, come what may. Mike’s presence protected me from those fears, along with all the other things from which he defended my crazy monkey-mind.
As it turns out, of course, what came was a divorce – and with it, the return of a concern that nibbles at my ankles like a duck. It’s easily dismissed for now, but I know it will evolve: The duck will become a velociraptor as I age, and it will slash at my psyche with those enormous claws.
Sure, sure; maybe I’ll find someone and we can team up to fend off the increasing disabilities that will come with time. Maybe I’ll become financially stable enough to hire out the work I need done.
Maybe I’ll become an Albanian jet pilot.
I am not an easy person to put up with – I know this comes as a complete surprise to anyone who has known me for less than 10 minutes. I don’t like sharing my living space. I am prone to letting clutter build up to intolerable levels, though I’m getting better at this now that I’m back in my own space. I am a seeker – I fling myself wildly into new hobbies and ideas with overwhelming intensity, suck out the marrow, learn what I can, and then move on.
I have hobbies that aren’t especially easy to get into for the more timid – motorcycles, guns, pool, photography. I am a sometimes adrenaline junkie. I have a difficult time making decisions, but when I do make up my mind, that shit is decided. Which brings me to my stubbornness, a force even I cannot overcome at times.
My relationship with food is complicated and persnickety. I try not to preach to those not interested, but it’s part of my life, my mindset, and who I am. Some people judge me harshly for it.
The litany of “reasons why I’ll be forever alone” goes on (and on,) but that’s not the point of this post, despite getting very sidetracked by it.
I am not afraid of dying alone; in fact, when that moment comes, I may prefer to be in solitude, undistracted by others so I may fully and mindfully experience one of the truly universal rites of passage. Provided, of course, my passing is peaceful: If I am in pain, or in distress, perhaps I would welcome a hand, a presence, to witness and bear.
Dying alone is not, at present, a fear. Unwillingly living alone… well, alone apart from the ever-present company of Infirmity… that is frightening.
I am terrified of becoming my mother in so many ways, for we are very alike. She had a pretty good life alone, until she sustained a traumatic brain injury which rendered her unable to live alone. She has friends, but none of them can provide all of her needs, and now she is alone (with her dog) in an assisted living facility. Confused, sad, alone. “Alone” can be a happy place, and often is for me – but largely because I choose it. Being alone not by choice can be a dark abyss, indeed.
Because she was a wretched mother in many ways, and because I am a wretched daughter in other ways, we do not speak. I do not help her anymore. I am done.
For all intents and purposes, she has no family. And I’ll probably be in her shoes in a few decades.
I’m mostly fine with this, but there is the duck at my ankles: “Who will carry in the heavy groceries?” “What if I fall down the stairs?” “What if I’m broke and can’t pay someone to shovel the sidewalk or mow the yard?”
There are always consequences of one sort or another to our words and actions; perhaps my karma will be to exist in helplessness. Perhaps that’s fitting.