A conversation with my friend this morning inspired today’s blog. Life has its stages, and we Baby Boomers are challenging this one like we challenged each one before. For good or bad, we insist on aging our way, with humor and as independently as possible.
Your Eyes, My Ears
At least my friends and I are falling apart at different times and with varying ailments. We supplement each other’s deficits. When my friend had hip surgery, I stayed with her. When I had my knee surgery, she stayed with me. Broken wrist? No problem. Here’s a weeks’ worth of dinners. Just re-heat with your good hand. Yes, I’ll drive you to your eye appointment. Up all night? Me too. Let’s have lunch and commiserate about our insomnia. Yes, I’ll drive you to the emergency room and stay with you.
The same network that celebrated each other’s weddings and baby showers is alive and well. I may want to cry over some setback, but after hearing my friend’s problems, I dry my eyes and we problem solve together. Or give it a rueful laugh and move on. We are determined to wring the most out of life, even if it takes our village to do it.
I recall some study done somewhere (how’s that for a professional citation?) that concluded that peer support among the elderly can be more effective than family support.
I suppose it’s partly a numbers game. If I need a ride to my doctor’s appointment, my son/daughter must take hours from work or other tasks, to accommodate me. On the other hand, out of five friends who are retired, I can probably find one or two who could take me to that appointment, and we may incorporate a fun lunch into the bargain. Why not?
If I complain about how difficult I now find it to do something, my adult child would probably feel bad for me or try to cheer me up. Perhaps they would offer a solution. I’m pretty sure my friends would play “can you top this?” and share their deficits until we’re all laughing. I still can’t do whatever it was, but what the heck? Mabel can’t…(fill in the blank), and we get on with life.
Despite our challenges, or maybe because of them, my friends continue to achieve, create, and love with the best of us humans. They contribute time, talent and treasure in ways they could not when younger. We share a common strength and joy in our Savior, Jesus. And as we age, we know we are closer to a much better eternal life. I think at some point, we all have said we’re grateful we’re older and can leave the future to others.
I’m currently reading Imagine Heaven by John Burke.  I came across writer John Burke on a video with a cardiologist and oncologist discussing near-death experiences (NDEs). Both physicians and Burke recounted hundreds of patients they either cared for or interviewed who described in vivid detail an afterlife. In almost all, Jesus, or a force of love and light beyond description, enveloped them. Some came to a barrier and knew it was not time to enter. Others were told they must go back. All wanted to stay.
Reading this book, and being with my friends, reminds me of the hymn Nearer My God to Thee. It is comforting to know I am getting nearer to seeing Jesus. And what’s not to love about careening through these later years to crash into eternity? Isn’t that what we Baby Boomers do?
Copyright ©Sue LeDoux 2023
 Imagine Heaven by John Burke, © 2013 John Burke, Baker Books, Grand Rapids, Michegan