When I was a teenager I helped take care of one of my grandmothers and as a young adult I helped take care of another one. Grandma Johnny lived with us for awhile and I can well remember giving her baths and dressing her. I was worried that she would be embarrassed, and so I tried to keep her talking and act like it was no big deal. In our bathroom we had double sinks and a huge mirror, I remember the look on her face as she saw herself in the mirror,she was in her 80's. That is where she would sit or stand as we tried to bath her. She was much to fragile to put in the shower and we couldn't get her in a bath tub. I prayed hard to know what to say to her to try and keep her happy when we did our daily bathing ritual. Finally I came up with something to say that made her laugh and so I continued to say it each time. I would wash her off with a warm washcloth and some soap and so as soon as I got the water ready in the sink and the washcloth out I would give her directions..."Grandma, I will wash down as far as possible, and I will wash up as far as possible but you have to wash POSSIBLE!" She would laugh every time, we both would, and it seemed to make it bearable to have her granddaughter bath her.
I loved my grandmother and have always had a very special spot in my heart for the elderly. I think they have such wisdom that we would all be better off, if we could slow down our lives a bit and take time out to visit them more and learn about their lives. When both of my grandmother's were in a nursing home (at different), I felt a great need to get over there and see them as much as possible. I knew they were lonely and one day my grandmother thanked me for coming and always bringing the kids to see her. She said, "you guys are the highlight of my day, the nurse comes and sits me where she wants me and here I sit all day looking at the same wall and the same people, then you come in with the kids and I get to see lots more!"
It saddens me to realize that there are so many people out there that are older and so lonely, years ago I was asked to teach a class on respecting our elders and appreciating who they really are. This is an article I found and I loved it, and have never forgot the old woman's words. it stops you and makes you realize that we only see at first glance, the surface of people and we are missing a lot more if we don't take the time out to spend with them and really get to know them. So I hope you read this and then immediately go out and visit an elderly neighbor, or someone in the nursing home, or write or call your Aunt or Grandmother who is alone. We really need them as much as they do us! Night dear friends!
When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital near Dundee, Scotland, it was felt that she had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through her meager possessions, it's 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 Ireland. The old lady's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the North A slide presentation has also been...And this little old Scottish lady, with nothing left to give to the world, is now the authoress "" Goes to show that we"".....
AN OLD LADY'S POEM
What do you see, nurses, what do you see?
What are you thinking when you're looking at me?
A crabby old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with faraway eyes?
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply""
Who seems not to notice the things that you do,
And forever is losing a stocking or shoe....
Who, resisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding, the long day to fill....
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 girl of sixteen, with wings on her feet,
Dreaming that soon now a lover she'll meet.
A bride 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 woman 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 man's beside me to see I don't mourn.
At fifty once more, babies play around my knee,
Again we know children, my loved one and me.
Dark days are upon me, my husband is 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 woman....and nature is cruel;
Tis 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 girl 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, nurses, open and see,
...Not a crabby old woman; look closer...see ME!!
You are as young as your faith, as old as your doubt; as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fear; as young as your hope, as old as your despair. ~Douglas MacArthur