“Do you ever think about what age you might be when you die?” Tracey asked out of nowhere last night. We were sitting on the lounge watching a Sixty Minutes piece on some very lucky guy who was rescued after bobbing around at sea for some ridiculous amount of time.
I spun around and pointed at my wife in a not entirely sympathetic manner. “Ha! Midlife crisis alert!”
This was a sweet moment. Tracey is ten years younger than me so I’ve been through mine. I remember she was my Florence Nightingale, soothing me with comments like, “Get over it.”
When I eventually went to the doctor, because the stomach pains were so bad I thought I was dying, he ran a series of tests and told me there was nothing wrong. Preparing my negligence case, I went for a second opinion and more tests were done. When the results came in I was called up to come in for an appointment. Expecting the worse, I dragged myself in. The conversation went something like this:
“What you have is psychosomatic,” the doc told me.
“How long do I have?”
“Psychosomatic means it’s all in your head.”
“Brain cancer? Tumours?”
“Nothing like that. Nothing at all. Nothing. It’s not real.”
I shook my head. “The pains in my stomach are very real,” I told him. They were. They woke me at night, kept me awake and doubled me over at work.
“Yes, but it’s caused by you. In your head. Anxiety. Physically, you’re fine,” was his prognosis. “Welcome to your midlife crisis.” Did this mean I had to buy a convertible? I hate convertibles. “The typical time for a male to experience this is 40 and you are crack on. Suddenly you’re not young anymore and you realize you really are mortal.”
“But I don’t care about dying, only how I die.” I’ve a definite preference for ‘in my sleep’ after a raucous night of sex and alcohol. Sexual exhaustion would be such a cool thing to have written on my death certificate. It only took me about ten seconds to put all he was saying together. I expected a referral to a specialist, possibly a priest, but what I got was a cure. “So you’re telling me I’m a little nuts?”
“That’s not quite how I’d-”
“That’s fantastic! That’s the best news you could have given me!”
And it was. Knowing there was nothing actually wrong and it was all in my head cured me that very day – no more pains.
Now my dear wife was approaching middle age and it seemed I would now get to
mock comfort and laugh at her nurse her through the experience.
As I sat staring at her I wondered how much rope she was going to let me have before she hung me with it.
“Now that you’re nearing forty-”
“I am NOT nearing forty!” she snapped at me. “I’m thirty…ish! And I’ll have you know I intend for my thirties to be the best twenty years of my life!”
So not a lot of rope at all then.
I pressed on.
“Does this mean we can talk about our funerals now? Because you wouldn’t let me talk about what I wanted for my funeral when I was having my midlife.” At the time I was really miffed by this. I mean, death was imminent. “I want a brass band and lots of jelly babies. The good ones.”
“Oh, shut up,” she told me. “I’m not having a midlife. I’m still young. For heaven’s sake, I still have a baby so I don’t need to worry about that nonsense yet.”
The topic was closed. At least with me. But Life, it seemed, wanted to make a point.
This morning Tracey arrived at the daycare centre with Miss3 and Miss1 and went about her routine of settling them into their rooms for her No Kids Monday.
Walking into Miss1’s room she went to the sign in book and flicked to the D’s.
“No, no. You’re not in that book anymore,” said the baby room coordinator. “Good news,” she said, taking Miss1 out of Tracey’s arms and leading her towards the interconnecting door between the baby and toddler rooms. “She’s going up to the next room! She’s not a baby anymore.”
Cremation or burial, Tracey? I’ll start making notes.
Bruce Devereaux hangs out at his ‘BIG FAMILY little income’ Facebook Page
’raising a family on little more than laughs’