Friday, September 15, 2006

"Unusually Old"

“Do you make a noise when you die?” Bea asks when I come in with breakfast.

I surmise from the urgency in her voice that she has been thinking about this question for a while.

“I don’t know,” I say. “Why?”

“She was asking me.”

“Who was asking you?

“My imaginary sister.”

We have explained sisters Helen and Dorothy have both passed. Curious about death but unwilling to admit interest, Bea attributes the question to an “imaginary” sister. How hard to be the last leaf on the family tree!

Five years ago, Bea expressed her feelings on old age in a poem:

I am a special person.
I am unusually old!
I am surprised to live so long.
I am alone because my friends are gone.
I am the proud grandparent of two granddaughters and three grandsons.

I am happy to be a mother.
I am glad that I could give birth.
I am very tired sometimes and want to cry.

I am the author of a book.
I am proud of that.
I am glad that when I die my work will live on.

I am sometimes ashamed of myself.
I am glad to live in Wellfleet, near the big ocean.
I am going to enjoy the sunlit days.

I am enjoying the flowers my daughter plants.
I am afraid when I hear a strange noise at night.
I am bothered by birds chirping early in the morning.
I am a special person.
I am unusually old.

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