The fine fourth finger of his fine right hand, just slightly, when he's tracking our path on his iPhone or repairing the clasp on my watch I will not think about the myelin sheath. Slight tremor only, transient, so the flaw in the pavement must have been my mother's back.---
My father is in his eighties and never had health problems, other than the garden variety, until he was seventy-six. He is now in his eighties, still active, but unable to work hard eight hour days. He has always pushed himself, probably because he always had unlimited energy. Now, he is only able to work for a brief time, followed by long recovery periods. Some days, he has to spend the day resting. On those days, he is frustrated.
My grandfather was a quiet man, an introvert with a love of poetry. He could recite poetry from memory, (and many times bawdy songs), to the great pleasure of those around him. At the end of his life, he berated his leg for letting him down. He'd curse it, saying, Come on, you s.o.b., get in here!, while pulling his leg into the car.
I remember my grandfather's measured steps, his bent back, his reliance on a cane. He refused to just sit and watch the world pass by. I remember him always in the middle of a project: in his garden, clipping our dog's curly white hair down to the skin in some places. I also remember him drinking to the point of crawling.
My father now curses his leg and we laugh remembering. I see my father in my grandfather's Paul Newman blue eyes, his slowing gait, his unfathomable memory, but unlike his father, he was anything but an introvert. His shoulders are always back, his chin is always out. This is a nice way of saying that although he has a kind heart and generous disposition, you had better not mess with him. Even now, he's always up for a fight.
I am grateful for his relative good health, and his vast Library of Congress-like mind, but, I have discovered in myself that I am unwilling to see what his waning strength means.
Denial may be too strong a word. I haven't the words, yet.