I have pretty much been on my own when I’m sick. I know to keep certain things on hand “just in case.” You know, sick food. I never take any over the counter meds for colds or flu. Just some chicken soup, Jewish penicillin, bread for toast and tea. People from dysfunctional homes are usually on their own in these cases, even as children.
This was about the last time I had help when I was seriously ill. It was Christmas time 1958, I was seven, and I had just lost my dear Aunt Ruth. I sometimes wonder if I became deathly ill after she died so I could join her in heaven. I was just getting over Scarlet Fever and was still so ill I didn’t even care it was Christmas time, even though it was my favorite time of year. I can still remember the torturous feeling of being picked up, carried and being propped in a chair, suffering and delirious with fever but my parents insisted I should be with the rest of the family whether I wanted to be there or not and with no thought to the other children getting it. They just told them to “stay away from me.” From this picture, I don’t think they had to be told.
Me looking more like Dracula’s daughter than a child at Christmas.
I believe this act actually saved my life because I could feel I was trying to slip away from this world. Anyone who’s ever been seriously ill knows what I’m speaking of. I’ve had major surgeries and very ill at other times, even to the point of hospitalization, but this was something different. This was a feeling of complete detachment and readying of my spirit to go home.
In ten days I will be 63 years old!
I keep recalling when one of my co-workers told me how old she was. She was 52 at the time and while I was only 10 years younger I found myself wondering what it would feel like to be that old.
She looked good for her age. She was a pretty woman, a little overweight, divorced, as myself. She was involved in a long-term but abusive relationship with someone much younger and I wondered if she put up with it just to feel younger herself. I remember her telling us that her brand new vehicle was in the shop because her boyfriend had come over drunk and started kicking in the side just to hurt her. I also wondered what I would have done in the same situation because I’m not so forgiving.
Getting over Scarlet Fever in the 1950’s. Thank God antibiotics were introduced about 10 years before.
Oh, that’s right, the age thing again. Well I’m glad I can say I’m getting old. Many people never get to say this. The baby that never makes it to it’s first birthday. The child that succumbs to some childhood illness or accident like I almost did at age seven. That young soldier that was just killed in yet another of our many wars and all the people trying to live our their lives and because of illness, accident or deliberate acts of downright evil, never get to grow old.
Rejoice in whatever age you are. Revel in it and never take your life or that of others for granted.
The grim-reaper is just around the corner as we all will eventually find out.