It’s just amazing. Here I am, 69 years old, living alone in the house of my parents.
My parents bought this house the year I graduated from high school. I was heading off to Boston for college and they moved here. I leaved her that summer and two more summers and then I was gone. Off on my own life, first in Boston, then in Palo Alto, the classic coastal sites of high tech.
And now I’m back, here alone. Perhaps my first Thanksgiving alone, tomorrow. I can’t really recall accurately but I suspect this is the first time – the first time in 69 years of life to be alone on Thanksgiving Day. And in a house where first my dad declined and spent his last days: I was called over when he fell and tried to help him get up but failed. Had to call 911. His last day in this house. Then my mother spent years here, with me visiting occasionally. What strange twist of fate that I’d end up back in Omaha given my life was elsewhere. Then my mother fell and now she’s in a nursing home slowly going, literally, crazy. It’s primarily the lack of stimulation, she can’t hear, she can’t see, she has no idea where she is. Her health is actually good, at 101 (we just had a birthday party for her after a big party on her 100th). So despite the fact I signed the hospice papers, a tough thing to do, who knows how long she will last.
But me, off today to the gym, pounding away lifting weights and cranking the bicycles hard, but tonight here alone in this place. No way could I have ever imagined it would turn out this way.
Everyone has their own trajectory in life. Few of us can actually predict what it will be. We plan, we work to accomplish those plans, and yet life throws us some really weird twists and turns. To be in this house tonight, definitely not my “home”, but my refuge at the moment from the challenges I face, is just so strange. How can something like this happen?
Yet it’s not so bad. I’m warm and dry and secure. I had plenty to eat tonight. I worked out at the gym, doing my than many my age can do. I’m healthy, for my age at least. I’m not broke, I’m not in danger like so many in the world, overall it’s not too bad, certainly better than many people have tonight. But it’s just weird, how life could produce this outcome, so unexpected, so much not what I want. I own a much nicer house elsewhere in this town but it’s not my home any more. The only house I felt was a home is owned by someone else and now, being in Bay Area, completely unaffordable to me. How weird.
There are a lot of noises in this old house. I don’t believe in ghosts or spirits, but it’s hard to be old in the same house where both my parents spent their last days. So maybe there are ghosts, maybe there is some gravity vortex that draws me here. This is a safe place now, but it’s not “home”, but then I have no idea where “home” is. I’ve lived in 10 different places, some of them mine, so as a child, but I guess none are home. Is this it? Is this where I’ll die as well? Strange!