Getting Old in Pottstown!

A couple of weeks ago I had a very sad experience.  I was shopping in a local store and there were a couple of gentlemen standing not too far from me having a chat.  It isn’t as if I wanted to listen in on what they were saying, it was more that I couldn’t help but hear them.

I even hate to write about it here for fear that one of them might see what  I’ve written and know I’m writing about what they said!

Oh well, here goes- The one man was talking about losing his wife.  He was in his 80’s and he looked very healthy but it sounded as if his wife hadn’t been as healthy and well, he was alone now.  He said she was the only woman he had ever loved.   He said he  had kids and they were good to him, but he didn’t know why he was still here.  He didn’t have any purpose.  He felt like he was simply rattling around waiting for…well he didn’t go so far as to say the word death but then he said that a couple of times he felt like ending it all himself.  His kids wouldn’t understand though, so  so far at least, he’s chosen not to.

I expected the other gentleman talking to him to cluck in sympathy, perhaps to chide him for thinking of suicide but instead and much to my chagrin I heard this instead… ” My wife is gone too.  She wasn’t the only woman I ever loved, I had others, but she was the one I was with the longest.  I know how you feel.  I don’t want to wake up in the morning some days.”

I couldn’t stand there any longer and pretend not to hear.  My throat felt tight.  I had no right to walk up to them and interrupt, and yet, I felt so sad hearing their conversation.

It made me want to drag both of them to my car so I could take them to a local golf course and drive around with them sitting in the back of a golf cart, or take them fishing, or go to the Boyertown museum and talk about cars!

I didn’t.

I’m telling you.

I’m thinking about age as it approaches.  I want to get a handle on it. I want to know what the changes will be like to my body and to my mind.  I want to stave off the negative changes and I want to make room for the positive ones!

This isn’t something we talk about a lot.

What do you think?






2 thoughts on “Getting Old in Pottstown!”

  1. I think that you found the hardest part – you know what you wanted to do, you know what you should have done, but didn’t. I think that those men are like you mentioned elsewhere, lonely, solitary, habit-driven people like all of us. Just wonder what might have happened, what might develop if you could have reached out. (Not that I ever do, but I have the feelings as well).

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