Leslie's Omnibus


Nancy V. sends this lovely story and poem:

When an old lady died in the geriatric ward of a small hospital nearDundee, Scotland, it was believed that she had nothing left of any value. Later, when the nurses were going through her 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 Ireland. The old lady's sole bequest to posterity has since appeared in the Christmas edition of the News Magazine of the North Ireland Association for Mental Health. A slide presentation has also been made based on her simple, but eloquent, poem. And this little old Scottish lady, with nothing left togive to the world, is now the author of this "anonymous" poem winging across the Internet:

Crabby Old Woman

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
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 stocking 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 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 round 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, people,
Open and see,
Not a crabby old woman;
Look closer . . . see ME!!


GUYK said...

So sad but so true. My sweetthing and I, at 63 years old and nearly 43 years of being together in marriage, are rapidly approaching those years and we look at them in horror-especially if we can't share them and continue to take care of each other.

Mother nature is not actually cruel-we have, by our modern medicines, managed to stay alive beyond the years that probably mother nature intended for us. I hope to stick around to take care of my dearest but after that I doubt seriously that I will allow myself to be treated like a turnip in a nursing home. I had rather go out with my boots on doing something I enjoy like a one way deep sea fishing trip.

Don't get me wrong-I am not depressed. Sweetthing and I live each day to its fullest and we enjoy life. But neither of us want to wind up like so many that we have known-not only unable to take of themselves but not even know where they are at. Hopefully our living wills will preclude being kept alive as a vegetable-and if there is a crime against nature, I reckon artificial life with no meaning is such a crime.

I apologize for the rant. This post and the poem hit home with me-and it is something that every caretaker of the elderly should read and remember.

Omnibus Driver said...

This touched me on many levels, too. I helped my mom care for my grandmother when she had alzheimers... and I helped her again my dad died of leukemia. Being elderly... and caring for the elderly... ain't for sissies.