Melancholy Me

When an old man died in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in an Australian country town, it was believed that he had nothing left of any value.

Later, when the nurses were going through his meager possessions, They found this poem. Its quality and content so impressed the staff that copies were made and distributed to every nurse in the hospital.

One nurse took her copy to Melbourne. The old man’s sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas editions of magazines around the country and appearing in mags for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on his simple, but eloquent, poem.

And this old man, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the author of this ‘anonymous’ poem winging across the Internet.

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!!

Remember this poem when you next meet an older person who you might brush aside without looking at the young soul within. We will all, one day, be there, too!

PSA-201205-God’s Decree

Most seniors never get enough exercise.  In His wisdom God decreed that 
seniors become forgetful so they would have to search for their glasses, 
keys, and other things, thus doing more walking.  And God looked down and 
saw that it was good.

Then God saw there was another need.  In His wisdom He made seniors lose 
coordination so they would drop things, requiring them to bend, reach, and 
stretch.  And God looked down and saw that it was good.

Then God considered the function of bladders and decided seniors   would 
have additional calls of nature, requiring more trips to the   bathroom, 
thus providing more exercise.  God looked down and saw that   it was good.

So if you find, as you age, you are getting up and down more, remember it’s 
God’s will.  It is all in your best interest even though you mutter under 
your breath.

Nine Important Facts to Remember as We Grow Older

#9  Death is the number 1 killer in the world.

#8  Life is sexually transmitted.

#7  Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.

#6   Men have two motivations: hunger and hanky-panky, and they can’t tell 
them apart.  If you see a gleam in his eyes, make him a sandwich.

#5  Give a person a fish and you feed them for a day.  Teach a person to use 
the Internet and they won’t bother you for weeks, months, maybe years.

#4  Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in the hospital, 
dying of nothing.

#3  All of us could take a lesson from the weather.  It pays no attention to 
criticism.

#2  In the 60’s, people took LSD to make the world weird.  Now the world is 
weird, and people take Prozac to make it normal.

#1  Life is like a jar of jalapeno peppers.  What you do today may be a 
burning issue tomorrow.

Please share this wisdom with others; I need to go to the bathroom. 

Day 31-Quarantine-Conventions

For three years I registered for the Lions District Convention. Peg was still with me and my philosophy was that if she was well enough I would go. Since the convention is located within twenty miles of home I planned to go for the main day, attend meetings and the dinner. Peg was never getting better, so I never went. I forfeited the registration and dinner fees. This year was different. Peg had passed, and I had no excuse to not go. I registered for all three days, and booked a hotel room at considerable expense. Then, I told myself why not attend all the conventions, go to the State also, I registered. The flyer came for the Lions USA/CANADA Leadership Forum in Louisville, Kentucky. This was another meeting I wanted to attend all three of those years, but they were too far away, and needed several days. I opted out of all of them, until this year.

You know the rest of the story, all of them are cancelled. Today was supposed to be day one of the District Convention. They aren’t even having a virtual meeting to elect officers. I will spend this  weekend the same way I have spent all the previous weekends, hunkered down in my palatial home wondering in which room to spend the day.

Yesterday, the President announced his phased plan to restart the economy. Good luck with that. I don’t think I will be too quick to respond to entering crowded restaurants and venues after the last six weeks of brainwashing to keep a distance. In fact, it’ll be a very long time before I am convinced it is safe enough for me to gamble outside. That is what it will be, a gamble. Each time I come within a foot of another human I will be wondering if the corona jumped the space and landed on me. Maybe I’ll zip myself into one of those big plastic balls and enter society that way. Or I’ll attach my feet to roller blades, and roll through crowds faster that the corona can leap. Or maybe, just maybe, I’ll stay at home and not gamble with any of it. The next few years may be my end of life experience. Not such a bad one when I think about it, but nevertheless not such a good one either.

Week Eight of Twelve

 

I don’t believe the meme. We enter with our mother, we leave with family or friends, and it is rotten to be alone.

I took on a super goal after Peg died. I vowed to move out of this big house into a smaller less expensive place after she left me. Right now I am in week eight of a twelve week program to empty the house of all unnecessary stuff; most of it belonged to my beloved Peggy. As long as she lived with me I happily tolerated her belongings, but once she left I no longer feel the connection. The house still looks like a train hit it, but in reality it is much more empty than it has been in a long time. By the end of next week I will have removed all things Peg except her memory which I will cherish for as long as I live. She was a beautiful woman who really took my heart, and I couldn’t do enough for her. We shared an amazing fourteen years together, and I miss her.

Peg had a habit of never throwing anything away. Yesterday, I attacked her desk to clear the drawers. Grief overwhelmed me, but I persisted and succeeded getting through everything in an hour. Toward the end, she was  packaging all the newspaper articles she saved in plastic bags or manilla envelopes. Most likely she did this out of boredom while I stayed engrossed in writing or cartooning. No doubt this finding will be one of my regrets that will haunt me during my lifetime.

Regret is an amazing emotion, and coupled with grief it can destroy a person. The only tool I have to fight it off is a promise not to neglect someone I love like I did Peg.

There are four weeks remaining in my project and I will once again be alone with my thoughts, regrets, and loneliness. I’m not alone yet because I retained Peg’s caretaker as my helper for twelve weeks to clear out the house. She is like a sister to me and a wonderful companion. Just knowing someone is in the house with me is comforting.

Yesterday, I got a call from an agent about an apartment that I  have my eyes on. I’m on a waiting list (currently number thirty) to get into the place. I have never seen what these apartments look like and asked to be shown. When I got the call I got weak in the knees thinking the place became available.  Lucky for me, an apartment became empty and I was able to walk through to see it. Someone else on the list is moving in.

The apartment is very nice, but I had a problem accepting it as a place to call home. Maybe, it is because it is the only building within 500 yards of another. Or maybe because it is occupied by seniors, living in a neighborhood with kids of all ages has some social advantages. Everyday I see people walking past my house with their dogs. In the afternoon I see kids returning from school. In the evenings I often see neighbors exercising their dogs by playing fetch. If I get to feeling alone, I walk up to the library and browse. Social contact is important in one’s life. Living in the senior complex so far away from everyone is definitely a negative.

Another negative of living in an apartment is having to give up my wood shop and Intarsia work. I look forward to giving up my garden, but the shop is another thing. I have worked with wood since I was twelve, but then again I worked with plants since I was four. I think it must be a brain thing.

The worst part of living alone after so many years of marriage is losing the soft cushy body to snuggle with. Although I have just endured four years without snuggles while Peg and I slept in separate beds in the same room. I can go on and on listing the advantages and disadvantages of living single, but it won’t do a thing for me to do so. I just have to live through this and get into a single routine like so many of my friends have already done.

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