A View from the North Shore: Thoughts on aging – Duluth News Tribune

I never thought my turn would come to this, just as my mother had reflected when we visited at her care center.

I resolved I would be different with regular exercise, the promise of pharmaceuticals, an easier life. But I see it coming towards me like the incessant rolls on the big lake, along with passing seasons that mark consumption of my time allotment.

My mother talked of losing her phone-friends leading to aloneness. Now, my own friends plagued with dementia, Parkinson’s, arthritis, and late nights trips to bathrooms are retreating to the cities to be closer to families and health care.

Mother would embarrass me when she’d send her coffee back, complaining firmly to our waitress that it was not hot enough, until I realized she had only so many cups left.

Here I now am, on this phase of narrowing choices, feeling alone, facing encroaching darkness of age and realizing reality.

I lay awake at 3 a.m. ruminating about what wasn’t and what should have been, wishing I was a better parent, coworker, or friend, regretting dumb things I said along with others that I wish I had.

Why now, I wonder, do I remember shortfalls instead of salutes? Is it angst of unfinished business, the impending diminishment of body and mind?

Yet all is tempered by a still love of life, a life well lived, a gratitude for what has been, more than sorrow for what has not, all bolstered by assuredness of seasons and return of lady bugs and cluster flies.

Perhaps it’s simply the quiet, the solitude of the North Country that creates space for such important musings.

My dog barks, waiting patiently by his empty bowl, reminding me that I am still needed, and that there is work to be done.

Steven M. Lukas is retired after a career in business and education. He and his extended family divide their time between the Twin Cities and Schroeder.

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