This really got to me this morning.
Things are still so fresh from the passing of my parents. Rehabilitation center full of older, seemingly neglected folks … Hospice, nurses, home care agencies, medicine, home care equipment, oxygen tanks … the list goes on and on. My parent’s home had turned into a makeshift hospital.
I remember the look on my daddy’s face when I bought a transport wheel chair and rolled it into the house. I knew it would help when I took him to the hospital for hormone therapy a few times a year, but he didn’t want to surrender to it. Eventually the day did come when it made life a lot easier. Sigh.
My sweet daddy. Such a strong and proud man who never wanted anyone to help him in any way. It wasn’t until days before his death that he even allowed a helper to transport him from the couch into this chair. Even then I had to strongly encourage him to let her help. He was so afraid … This picture was taken that morning after he was transferred into this chair. He said he felt so bad (which was UNUSUAL to hear my daddy say because he never complained). This was when a new level of fear kicked in. I think Hospice may have told him he was dying too (or he overheard them telling mama).
There is no way to explain what it does to a daughter’s heart to watch her daddy suffer to breathe and hang onto life.
Anyway … with that said, I wanted to share this poem I found this morning. I pray you will remember this the next time you speak with an elderly person.
Old people were once just like you and me.
Cranky Old Man…..
What do you see nurses? . . .. . .What do you see?
What are you thinking .. . when you’re looking at me?
A cranky old man, . . . . . .not very wise,
Uncertain of habit .. . . . . . . .. with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles his food .. . … . . and makes no reply.
When you say in a loud voice . .’I do wish you’d try!’
Who seems not to notice . . .the things that you do.
And forever is losing . . . . . .. . . A sock or shoe?
Who, resisting or not . . . … lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding . . . .The long day to fill?
Is that what you’re thinking?. .Is that what you see?
Then open your eyes, nurse .you’re not looking at me.
I’ll tell you who I am . . . . .. As I sit here so still,
As I do at your bidding, .. . . . as I eat at your will.
I’m a small child of Ten . .with a father and mother,
Brothers and sisters .. . . .. . who love one another
A young boy of Sixteen . . . .. with wings on his feet
Dreaming that soon now . . .. . . a lover he’ll meet.
A groom soon at Twenty . . . ..my heart gives a leap.
Remembering, the vows .. .. .that I promised to keep.
At Twenty-Five, now . . . . .I have young of my own.
Who need me to guide . . . And a secure happy home.
A man of Thirty . .. . . . . My young now grown fast,
Bound to each other . . .. With ties that should last.
At Forty, my young sons .. .have grown and are gone,
But my woman is beside me . . to see I don’t mourn.
At Fifty, once more, .. …Babies play ’round my knee,
Again, we know children . . . . My loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me . . . . My wife is now dead.
I look at the future … . . . . I shudder with dread.
For my young are all rearing .. . . young of their own.
And I think of the years . . . And the love that I’ve known.
I’m now an old man . . . . . . .. and nature is cruel.
It’s jest to make old age . . . . . . . look like a fool.
The body, it crumbles .. .. . grace and vigour, depart.
There is now a stone . . . where I once had a heart.
But inside this old carcass . A young man still dwells,
And now and again . . . . . my battered heart swells
I remember the joys . . . . .. . I remember the pain.
And I’m loving and living . . . . . . . life over again.
I think of the years, all too few . . .. gone too fast.
And accept the stark fact . . . that nothing can last.
So open your eyes, people .. . . . .. . . open and see.
Not a cranky old man .
Look closer . . . . see .. .. . .. …. . ME!!
Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.