Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Where I went

I picked up my old friend tonight and drove him to see his Wife at the convalescent center.

Can I tell you, I hate those places. I hate the smell of them and the sad sight of shriveled human beings waiting around to die or moaning in their misery.

Some old gentleman was fighting with a nurse:

"Take your hands off me! Are you crazy? I know where I'm going!"

Five years ago, he could have been the master gardener of his neighborhood, with an adoring grandson in tow as he strutted through his neighborhood. Twenty years ago, he could have been a football coach or a lawyer or the kindly clerk at the corner store. Now he is just a confused old man who thinks his nurse is the one with the messed-up head.

My friend walked into his Wife's room, past Her roommate who was babbling something incoherent. He sat beside Her and held Her hand and never let go for 45 minutes until She finally said, "Boys, I'm falling asleep." Our cue to go.

She will not be in this world much longer and then what will happen to him?

Someone once said, old age is not for sissies. I've got a while to go but I still think about it and dread it. I don't care about wrinkles or grey hair -- but I don't want to be so weak that I can't fight off some 16-year old mugger or open a pickle jar. I don't want to lose my mind and cry out for people who've been dead 3o years.


Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I know what you mean. We can only hope and prepare to grow old gracefully but lots of things are out of our control. For now, I try to remember and serve the elderly and place my trust in God for my future.

leslie said...

Thanks for being there for him and her, ECD. Thanks.

eastcoastdweller said...

Lone Grey Squirrel: I appreciate your comments, especially since I haven't been to your blog in a little while and thus don't deserve the honor.

Why can't life be more like that movie, The Notebook, where an elderly couple who had come to the end of joy in life just quietly lay down together one night and passed away peacefully in their sleep.

Leslie: Ultimately, tending to human relationships matters more than any stuff we can accumulate. When these two do pass on, I will have a memory to cherish for the rest of my life: their gentle, murmuring conversation and his holding Her small and frail hand.