Have you thought about where you will be in the next 20, 30, 40, or even 50 years? At some point, living on your own will become impossible. You may need regular medical attention as your body ages, or you might require assistance in your everyday life. It’s not something we like to think about, and we tend to put it out of our minds until we absolutely have to face the reality. Mak had to face it all too soon, but the note he left for his nurses to find touched their hearts completely!
Mak, like many other elderly people, was placed in a nursing home, and virtually forgotten. Nursing homes are typically very lonely places. Family members treat is as a task to go see their elders. Their visits decline as time goes on. They’re so crowded, most nursing homes are understaffed and many seniors are neglected, not receiving the care needed to keep their spirits high.
When Mak died in the geriatric ward of the nursing home he was living at, nurses began to clean out his area and discard unwanted items. One of the nurses found something impressive – a poem. She was so touched by the poem she made copies and handed them out to her fellow nurses at the home.
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!’
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.
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.
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,
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 vigor, 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.
Finding the person trapped in an aging body can be hard for most of us. Seeing past the frailty and dependence can be a challenge, and having a conversation can be impossible for some. So this man wrote a poem detailing his life. The nurses might not have known him in life, but they can certainly see the person he used to be!