cardinal newman on growing old …

December 23, 2010

in Hospice & Palliative Medicine,Spirituality

… “I speak with difficulty; I can hardly walk, never without the chance of tripping up; I with great difficulty go up and down stairs – I read with discomfort. I cannot write except very slowly – and I am deaf … except in failure of memory, and continual little mistakes in the use of words, and confusion in the use of names, I am not conscious that my mind is weaker than it was … like other old men, I am so much the creature of hours, rooms, and of routine generally, that to go from home is almost like tearing off my skin, and I suffer from it afterwards … the weakness and stiffness of my fingers react upon my brain … and now that I cannot use it [pen to write his thoughts down] freely, I cannot use my mind.” He found that before he got to the second half of a sentence he had forgotten what he was going to say: “I have always held that thought was instantaneous – that it takes no time – and now that doctrine is confirmed to me, when I want a subtle shorthand to record what otherwise, like a flash of lightning, goes as rapidly as it comes … after any unusual exertion [I am] often obliged to lie down.”

Ian Ker bio p. 732, 738

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