Dad is now in his fifth set of 20 years, close to crossing into his 90s. It appears that the mind is willing but the flesh is weak. His health has been slowly fading over the last few years and it isn't fun any more. You want to be able to do things for yourself, but can't. You are forced into relying on others and it takes patience. Your own body fails you when you try to do things that once were easy. You become frustrated. Parts of your body decide to quit functioning properly and you are embarassed and feel lessened. People start to treat you differently once you get a bit older - they talk around you or about you but not to you. They seem to think that a weaker body somehow implies a weaker mind. It isn't true, you know. The mind is amazing - it retains a wealth of information and experience and it keeps on going long after your body retires.
Dad can't see as well as he could and his motor skills are less than perfect. His balance isn't what it used to be and he has lost a lot of his strength. He has lost the freedom to get out on his own now and he misses being independent. He still cares about his friends and his relatives and wishes that he could write or visit, but it's difficult when you can't see very well. The world has closed in on him and all we can do is offer him as much comfort and love as we can possibly give.
My dad has been the pillar of strength in our family and we all have come to rely on that strength and wisdom. He has been my hero throughout my life and has set the example of the kind of man I would like to be. Age takes a lot away from us eventually, but it doesn't take away our character or the history of what we've done and how we've lived our lives. As the years pass and our lives fade, we are left with our memories and we can see in others the effects of how our life touched others and perhaps helped make their lives better.
My dad can be proud of the life he has lived.