**Warning: This entry gets a bit triggery.**
I don't know if anyone else is a big TLC head, like I am, but I watched the most amazing and awe-inspiring and depressing program I have seen in forever tonight. It was called Growing up Old. It was about kids with Progeria, which is that disease which makes you age really fast. So these kids were from 6-14 and they looked like very small, very old people. And they had old people health problems (strokes, heart trouble, arthritis, etc.). It was so sad. One little boy was only 6 and already had two major strokes. All of the kids were bald, had vericose veins, swollen joints, wrinkled faces...
It gave me a lot to think about. Aging is one of the most difficult things that any of us go through--can you imagine going through it super fast? And at that age? How could you possibly understand it? I don't understand it, and I'm supposed to be an adult. The idea that my body is deteriorating, that my cells are dying faster than they are being born--that is nearly enough to make me cry. I look for wrinkles and try to pretend I don't have gray hair. How could I possibly have even wrapped my mind around these thoughts at six?
And even if the six year old doesn't understand that he's aging (the older kids most certainly did understand), he does understand that he's really really sick. I can't imagine that, either. Again, it's hard enough as an adult, or even as an elderly person--how can you be anything but permanently angry if you are a sick child? Or, maybe worse yet, if you have a sick child? That was the other thing this program really had me thinking about--how does one parent a child that is aging faster than you are? It kept showing these kids with their parents, and the parents all looked so young. I can't imagine the feeling of watching your child grow to old age in only a few years.
Mark and I were talking during the show, and one thing that came up was how some human disease just seems like a sick joke. This is one example of that. It's like a very vengeful god, who is very familiar with our culture and what hurts us the most, invents ways for death to be not only painful and dehabilitating, but also as horrifying and humiliating as possible. What other explanation can there be for having to watch yourslef grow to old age and die as a child? Isn't the one benefit of early death supposed to be avoiding old age? What other explanation can there be for Alzeimer's, turning people into something they never and torturing their families, often for years, before they finally die? What explanation for cancers that attack the parts of our body that society most expects us to display? What explanation can there possibly be besides a god who hates us and has a very sick sense of humor?
I should so not watch TV.