As Time Flies By
Before My 65th Birthday
It seems I was just like most people. I was going from day to day, month to month, year to year, trying to deal with each problem I encountered. I never thought much about my age or what the future might bring. I certainly never thought of myself as growing old.
The Day That Changed My LIfe
I had never thought much about my age, I guess I felt I was invincible. Even though I knew I had developed some health issues, such as emphysema. However, I had stopped smoking after forty years, and some how I never paid attention to the number of my age. Birthdays slipped by, and I either just celebrated with a cake or not at all. I never thought much about my age at all.
Then on March 27, 2015, a faint knock on my front door by the Delaware State Police at 3:30 in the morning, changed my life. My beloved forty-four year old son was brutally murdered as he sat unarmed and unaware in his car. Someone would walk up to his car and put twelve bullets into his helpless body.
I think I began aging rapidly with the words, " I am sorry to inform you", however I still didn't feel I had gotten old, and now I had a mission to accomplish. There was no time to be "older", for now I had much to do. I made fliers and walked the streets of danger. There was no time for aging, or was it happening anyway?
Time Had Passed Without Me Realizing It.
The Single Day I first Realized I Had Gotten Old
Part of our journey to find justice for our son was putting flyers up in merchants windows. One small liquor store near the park where our son was murdered, was one of the first businesses we posted a flyer. After that we continued to check back and talk to the store keepers to get feed back and to replace any that were torn down. As I walked into the liquor store, one day several months after we first posted it, I began talking to the clerk, and she explained to me the inquiries the flyer had bought about. She said her boss had a lap top that he recorded all activity that went on during all shifts. She said one day, he asked her, "Who is that oder couple, that keeps coming in the store"? Thinking I might be hearing a tip, I replied, "an older couple keeps inquiring about the flyer?" She replied back to me, "ma"am, he was talking about you and your husband." "Me?", I replied, Oh ok." I was shocked. I was an older person? It seemed unbelievable. I think that was the day, the moment I suddenly realized I had gotten old.
I felt a quiet still come over myself, as I tried to digest what I just heard. It was strange, because as I stood there I felt like I was aging in the moment. I then started to feel every bit my 65 years. As I walked to the vehicle where my husband sat waiting, I now knew I was officially an older person. Little did I know that day, that moment that I became aware, that I also only had 27% lung function.
The Journey Into Old Age
It took until our quest for justice be be over, for me to take the next journey. The journey of awareness into "old age". Then another revelation would hit me, and I knew that I would be taking the journey into growing old, without my son, who was always a source of support and compassion for me.
Little did I know at that moment that the journey of the next few years would be hard and challenging, as I struggled through one health crises after another.
What seemed to happen to me all of a sudden, really came on over a period of years. I just didn't realize it. But now with the passage of time, I realized how much history is in the 4'11 inch tall 115 pound frame of mine.
I have lived through several periods of time. I have seen history repeat itself. I remember asking my mother about the great depression and rumple seat cars, and now realize that her history as well as my own, now live inside this small frame of a slightly beat up body.
I was a senior in high school and lived on the outskirts of Baltimore where there were beautiful horse farms and rolling hills. But down in the city, the city was burned and businesses looted because of the murder of Martin Luther King.
Now as a older person, I watched on TV, where the city of Philadelphia was looted and destroyed after the murder of George Floyd, and then watched as those protests moved to the small town of Dover Delaware where I reside and the Dover Mall where I worked at one time and shopped with my children, was now being looted.
I was with the first recipient of the polio vaccine through the "sugar cube", when I was in kindergarten, and remember the fear parents and children had when someone in your school had had a case. I went with my mother as she collected for the March of Dimes. Now I saw another devastating virus unfold from my television and have been fully vaccinated for Covid 19.
I can remember my mother telling me about coupons for butter during World War two, and food shortages, and how people had gardens, in any space they could. How canning is something that everyone that could did. Then I saw empty shelves during Covid and yet today, and saw how seeds, canning supplies and everything relevant to gardening, were being sold out.
I was one of those too, I say proudly. We always had a garden, but the past two years, I began growing everything. I learned about rare seeds, and turned our back yard of a 1/4 acre into a piece of art gardening, with arbors and tunnels. It is amazing what you can do.
It's the one thing, this artful gardening does and that is it reminds me that God is still full of wonderful things, beautiful things. I choose not to watch the news, full of death and sorrow. My back yard is the place to be. It has been and will be full of nature's beauty and plenty of food to eat. We are always gardening. We raise out own plants so that starts in the winter.