When I first took my writing seriously, I enrolled in Gotham Writers Workshop about 11 years ago. In one of my first fiction writing classes I wrote a short story called An Early Fall, about the twenty-something daughter of a mid-forties mother with a debilitating illness and the debate over whether to send her sent to a rehabilitation center/nursing home. It was an allusion to my life, or a portent, with my mother suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. My mother was in plateau at the time, her illness had progressed for the then last 7 years that she needed to retire and walk with a cane, but she could still take care of herself. Of course, my father was there to help her.
Over the last 5 years my mother's illness has progressed rapidly to the extent that she his paralyzed in the right arm, can't walk, and we had to have live in a rehab center/nursing home. This past Saturday, I went to see her on her 69th birthday. My mother also suffers from dementia, so this makes her condition particularly worse. Now, the big issue is that she has partially lost the use of her jaw. She going to see the specialist to determine the cause, but we already know that it's the MS.
I once thought 69 was old, but as I got older I've known very spry 69 and 70 yr olds. My father was at that age. He's 77 now. So that short story has proved true to a certain extent. For my mother, it has been an early fall.