When I was much younger, friends and relatives would chide me about being single, reminding me of my biological clock for child bearing. They would often advise that I get married and bear kids who will take care of me in my old age. I thought I won’t need any one to take care of me. But it is only when you get to that age that you realize what they mean. Not that I don’t want a family of my own but you don’t always get what you want. I thought all I had to do was eat well and exercise often and I’d never get sick. But eating well is not all there is to not getting sick, especially breast cancer. There are other causes beyond my control. And if I ever really needed a companion or caregiver, I’d just make sure I have enough savings and investments to take care of that when the time comes. When I was hospitalized and had my chemo treatments, I was dependent on my nephews to bring me to the hospital. They used to live with me in their College years until they got married. There was also my sister who watched over me, refusing the caregiver my brother wanted me to hire. It is different when your loved ones are the ones taking care of you. But my sisters live far away from me and have their own families. Now, life becomes more difficult for me with this “lockdown” and without public transport, I would have to walk for 30 min one way to get my groceries and medicines. Thank God, my niece and family live near me, and offered to get me some stuff. Anyway, there were times when they also asked favors from me. I do not know how long they will stay near me – I can only wish.
There are some things you need to accept about getting old – arthritis, poor eyesight and hearing. Although I can still follow some fast and complicated dance steps with some modifications, getting up from bed or from a seat or from the kneeling position is a challenge. And now, with my left arm getting heavier (from the effect of my left breast mastectomy) and probably carpal tunnel syndrome on my right wrist, housework is getting to be really – a chore!
My sisters have been inviting me to live with them especially after my mastectomy but I relish living on my own, to do or eat as I wish. Loneliness was almost never a problem especially with my niece’s two toddlers around and with my chapel duties and friends in the community.
I prefer the status quo. But there will come a time when I will no longer have a choice.