Growing Old Is So Good

I recently asked a coworker about his holiday plans. He said he just wanted Christmas to be over.

For some, the holiday period is more about surviving than celebrating… because it only helps magnify the loss of a loved one. This year, our family understands this all too well.

At the end of October, my husband lost his mother unexpectedly. Then, just three weeks ago, his oldest sister passed away at the age of 41, leaving behind a young son. In that case, we knew it was coming, but losing her didn’t make it any easier.

I won’t go into more details because, while I’m pretty open with my life, their stories are not mine to share. What I can say is that this entire journey has been filled with immense sadness.

Watching my family plan two funerals back-to-back has been so gutting. Two bright lights suddenly gone… and a family changed forever. Our grief comes in waves but there’s an underlying heartache that always seems to linger.

candle representing mourning

With Christmas on our doorstep, the absence of my husband’s mother and sister is heavy in our home. I can still see us gathered around the kitchen island last year, feasting on a mountain of food. I never would have guessed that that would be our last Christmas, all together.

christmas table

Life is so fleeting. One minute we’re here, the next we’re gone. My co-workers and I see it play out all the time in the news industry. This year, I am living it.

While the grieving process has been difficult, it has also been enlightening.

In recent months, I’ve been complaining a lot about getting old; whining about the wrinkles on my forehead and the lines that form when I smile. But the truth of the matter is, this experience has taught me that growing old is one of life’s greatest privileges. What a blessing it is to wake up in the morning and live another day.

I know for a fact that my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law would have given anything to be on this earth just a little longer. A few years… a few months even. Just to visit with the grand-children one more time. Or to watch my nephew start kindergarten in the fall.

A few days ago, I called my grandma in Ottawa to wish her a happy 93rd birthday. All I kept thinking was… Wow, what an amazing, long life she’s had, and what a blessing it has been to have her around all these years. My life is so much richer because of her.

grandma turns 93

Growing old is a cause for celebration, not a curse. We need to stop wasting so much time and energy fighting it, and concealing it.

Let’s just be thankful and appreciate the simple fact of being alive. Aging really is the greatest gift we can receive this Christmas.