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JIM ‘PAPPY’ MOORE: One Doctor’s Visit Away

By Jim “Pappy” Moore

I am writing this column today so that my readers who are in my age group can send a link to their adult children for their consideration. As we age, it is a hard path we take in later years. Of the 252 members of my graduating class, about 72 of them have already passed away. They are dying at the rate of about one every two to three months. The reminder that the Grim Reaper is out there actively thinning our herd never goes away, never attenuates. 

Among my closest of friends I have said “we are one doctor’s visit away from knowing death is stalking us.” If you are in this age group, you understand the meaning of this statement. One visit that says “your test says you might have …   “ (fill in the blank here). 

For us, life is more urgent. We know our days are numbered. We know that even though we may live ten or more years, if we do so we are outliving our life expectancy. It’s been said by doctors that nothing takes down older people like a serious fall. The data are alarming. One bad fall, and you may never get back to what you were before that fall. 

This finality, this threat mortality and its ever-increasing threat affects our mind and our emotions. This is why we get upset when we cannot hear back from our children, our nephews, our nieces, our grandchildren, our grandnieces, our grandnephews. They do not feel the pressure for communication that we do. They do not understand that we see every Christmas and every Thanksgiving as perhaps our last with family. To them it may be a sometimes tedious family event where they have to see someone who annoys them.

If you have someone in your life who is in their mid-seventies, they are aware that they may only get to see you in this life twenty or forty more times. And that’s only if they see you once every three months for the next five to ten years. Meanwhile, their high school classmates are dropping at the same rate. 

When we are young, we don’t think about death much, because we don’t have to. It’s a long way off, we still have energy, and we are pretty durable. Our parents and aunts and uncles seem too insistent at times. Well, it’s because they hear that loud ticking of the clock that time is going by faster than it did when they were younger. You might not think that is true, but it is. Time flies by as you get older. A year is a tiny percentage of your life. It goes by quickly, especially if you have not seen your kids or grands in a while.

Now I’ll preach to our children’s generation. You think of yourselves as being compassionate and mindful of others, but does this include your older relatives? Or do you keep them at arm’s length? Do you put them off when they reach out to you? Do you teach your children by your bad example?

It has been said of life that we only go around once. That is true, and it’s good to keep in mind. We older folks totally get that. We cannot get away from it. Parents, uncles, aunts, spouses, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends – we have seen them all go away in these our senior years. 

Dusty Springfield sang many years ago “put a little love in your heart.” It’s a good lesson for everyone of every age. Is your heart right?

Copyright 2024, Jim “Pappy” Moore. All rights reserved.

4 Comments

  1. Dale Duren on March 3, 2024 at 7:51 am

    Nice column, Jim. Good luck on getting through to the younger crowd.

    • Jim "Pappy" Moore on March 6, 2024 at 1:30 pm

      Thanks, old pal. I recognize it’s more for our generation than our younger generations, but I thought I’d express the anxiety we experience as we age.

  2. Sharon Kendrick on March 3, 2024 at 8:54 pm

    I love how you write what I feel. This column hits very close to home at 73. Every day is a gift for Harold & I. I’ve lived a wonderful life & I’m so proud of my 55 year marriage, 3 beautiful daughters & 7 grandchildren. My “Life’s Been Grand” is one of my favorite George Strait songs because I can relate to it. Keep up the good writing Jim.

    • Jim "Pappy" Moore on March 6, 2024 at 1:33 pm

      Thanks for your kind remarks, Sharon. Give Harold my best. We do love our senior years, but we also hear the distant and not-so-distant drums reminding us our time is measured.

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