Many moons ago, Greg said something that stayed with me. I was only reminded of it last April, his birthday month.
We were about to go to bed. I was deeply concerned about the well-being of his and my parents. I have started to get all worked up having jolted to the fact that maturing and aging all have physical manifestations.
See, a few days before that, we fetched my mother from the airport. I haven’t seen her in a while and I was surprised to see lines where there used to be none. Her dark hair is now slowly being replaced by fresh gray ones. I realized that she’s going through a transition (always has been, like all of us) and it came as a shock to me.
It was ten summers ago, to be exact, when my mother came to visit me to see my situation in my university. Eager to show her around the school, I took her to the building where I, as a freshman spent a lot of time. It was sweltering but I remember my mother walking gracefully with the umbrella that she borrowed from me. I cannot recall exactly what she wore but I was sure I thought she looked beautiful. And I have kept that beautiful image of her descending the Palma Hall stairs of my university. I was content to see her in that light for so long and did not need to update the image I have of her in my head.
I think that’s what huge time away does. Instead of easing you into the change, it shocks you into wakefulness the way cold water does to your sleepy senses.
Having had this wave of emotion, nostalgia, and worry come at me, I told Greg how I feel seeing my mother’s wrinkles and seeing her not as nimble as she used to be. We also got to talk about how his mother has slowed down over the years. We were both getting sleepy, so while he very calmly arranged his pillow, he added this as an afterthought,
“Well, if you’re 60 and you wake up not feeling anything, then you’re dead.”
I don’t know how he does it, but although reality sometimes comes out dark with the way he phrases it, I find his words reassuring. Why see pain as death coming at you when it’s affirming your humanity and the years you are living, right?
This is why Greg and I work: because he is not the type to dwell. He would examine a set-up, come up with a solution, and get on with other things. Sometimes, I get stuck on the emotional complications that I do not see the whole picture while Greg is the one who reframes it and tells it like it is.
To my husband, the unintentional source powering #MotivationalGreg, ein Hoch to your grit, mental stamina, and strength of character! Egal ob die Sonne scheint, stehe ich hinter dir.