Friday, 07 January 2022 12:24

COLUMN: Pondering my own mortality

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Within the last few years, I have gotten very conscious of my mortality. I don't think I am going to drop dead any day now, mind you, but it has occurred to me that I more than likely have more time behind me than I do in front of me.


My wife doesn't like me bringing it up and I can understand why, sort of.

We don't spend a lot of time thinking about what life would be like without the other one. I guess we suppose we are always going to be a “we” or “us” and not a “me” or “I.” Most of the people I know refer to us as a pair and not as individuals, as if my wife has no personality and I have no personality, but together we are so full of personality we are bursting at the seams. That's partially true, as we are a well-oiled machine that works much better as a unit and not so great as individual parts. Anyone that has seen us together would agree to that. 

A lot of the time, my wife plays Abbott to my Costello. I'm the ridiculous one and she is the practical adult. She has said many times that I am less of a husband and more a mischievous kid that she needs to keep on a short leash.

I won't say she's completely wrong, but I won't say she's entirely correct. Living with me means you have to be on your toes all the time.

Not long ago, we were walking out of the drug store and I had done something that caused my wife to say “I love you” to me just as we were passing a surly looking woman who was going in as we were going out. 

“You hardly know that woman.” I said, “How do you know you love her?”

I looked at the woman in the eye and said, “I'm sorry about my wife. Sometimes she doesn't know what she is saying. You seem like a lovely person, though.”

My wife looked at the woman and then at me and shook her head. 

A few years ago, I suggested we go and look at Christmas lights in a nearby neighborhood. 

“Tonight?” 

“No,” I said, “Let's wait until morning when the sun is out and we can see each of the bulbs.”

I like to think I am a wiseguy. My wife does once in a while, but most of the time, she is the straight man in our little comedy routine. 

I know you are thinking that doesn't have a lot to do with being aware of my mortality. It doesn't really, but I wanted you to smile a little before I got to the really heavy stuff.

I am a little bit past the theoretical halfway point of the lifespan of the average American male. I have age-appropriate issues, I don't smoke, rarely drink, but I eat what I want. My doctor says I am doing okay and since he is a doctor and I am not, I guess I'm gonna have to trust him. I feel okay most of the time and when I don't, it's never anything serious. 

I've reached the age where I am beginning to lose my friends. You, the guy who always complains about my column, you must be thinking that I don't have any friends, but I do. My friends, some of whom are a little older and some a little younger, have been leaving us of late. I get online only to see that bad health or something similar has claimed another friend. Now, I am in no hurry to get to the hereafter, but I'm not so sure being the last man standing is so hot, either. Getting old is one thing. Old and lonely is another. 

I have learned that a dear friend has a very short time left on this earth. He's had a full life and he's been places and done things and met people, so he's not going out with a lot of things left to do. His family has made preparations and I can only imagine he is reaching a point where he is ready to move on to the next journey. It's reminding me that I don't want to go any time soon. There is still a lot left to do and see. 

My wife has told me time and time again that I have to go before her. I didn't understand why and wondered if she was in some kind of hurry to get me to go. Finally, I asked her. 

“ I can't go first,” my wife said, “knowing there will be no one to take care of you.”

I said to her I was in no hurry, but if it made her feel better, I would be sure to go first. 

Don't think for a minute that I would not haunt our house. 

Award-winning columnist Joe Weaver, a native of Baltimore, is a husband, father, pawnbroker and gun collector. From his home in New Bern, he writes on the lighter side of family life.