It’s not uncommon for adults to dread getting older. Over the last year or so I have noticed that both of my parents have made sporadic, off-hand remarks regarding their age. Mom will be seventy in just a few weeks, and Dad will celebrate the same milestone a few months following her. I think the idea of being in their seventies, understandably, makes them anxious and worried. No one is guaranteed any length of lifetime, but in general we like to think we’ll live until our eighties or nineties. This leads me to reasonably believe that my parents are perturbed about the reality that they are getting closer to the end of their lifespan, whenever that may actually be.
Mom has no idea what year it is, let alone what month or day of the week. For her, time is a foggy construct that bears little use. Well, at least in any way that the rest of us are familiar with. The only instance she really looks at a clock is when I ask her if she’s hungry. Her instinct is to see if the glowing numbers indicate a meal time, instead of listening to her body. If it weren’t for me prompting about her hunger I’m certain she wouldn’t notice if I covered or removed all of the clocks indefinitely.
Whenever I have enthusiastically mentioned that her seventieth is approaching Mom will moan, “Noooooo.” Her face will slump into a pouty face and she’ll look at me with an accusing brow. I’ve tried to remind her that it should be something special to celebrate, but she hates the idea of being old. I’m pretty sure she doesn’t have any idea how hold she is, or I am, until I bring up her birthday.
As the pandemic has been categorically the worst event to affect her health and speed up her cognitive decline thus far, I would like to do something to let her know she’s loved. Snail mail is something I think everyone treasures, especially since personalized mail is a rarity today. A couple friends of mine generously sent her mail toward the start of quarantine and she loved it. She teared up when realizing that people were thinking of her and had taken the time to send her mail. She’s a very social creature so being stuck at home all of the time is very, very hard on her.
I don’t doubt that she’ll be completely over the moon to receive more mail for her birthday. So, if you would like to be involved with this little birthday surprise and send my mom an email, a postcard, or a note in the mail please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org. Her birthday is in early October so the deadline will be September 21st. That will give me time to gather all of the notes together to present them to her and also allow for an ample time frame for the messages to arrive.