The young woman sat in the courtroom next to her mother who had some problems with her health. The assistant district attorney sat there and ripped into the younger woman about choosing to take care of her mother. He acted like the older, sick woman was not there. He then told the older woman, if she was sick and having problems, then she could just sit down every few feet. His insensitivity shocked everyone in the room, by the look on their faces, but yet nobody dared speak up and correct him.
In turn, this made the older woman start to feel down on herself, like she was a burden, and not worth messing with. The way this man talked about her, made her daughter question if it would be appropriate to just sit her out on the street corner and send her to deal with her own devices. Of course not. If this were the assistant DA’s mother, would HE have treated her the same way? One has to wonder.
I try not to judge other people. I really don’t. But I have noticed in the past few years that as I age and as my mom ages, that people get to a point where they don’t want to be bothered with our older folks. They start being treated like a bother.
Yesterday I spoke to a lady who had taken an unexpected and hasty departure from her job. I have known her for years. I am not normally one prone to gossip. I could care less what the next door neighbor is doing, however if they do want to share information it goes no further than me. However when speaking to this friend I’d not seen in a while, I had to ask her why she didn’t get the writeup in the paper her office mate did when she retired, and told her I’d heard rumors that her own departure wasn’t all that honest so to speak. The accusation was extremely uncharacteristic of her. (I’m being very generic about this because apparently there’s a court case involved so I don’t want to ruin it for anyone.) She smiled and more or less said “let me guess! The new woman who works in there is slandering me AGAIN.” She quit voluntarily due to a hostile work environment. The woman who works there now bungles everything, tells lies, is absentminded, and overcharges people left and right on the invoices she sends out. I know this first hand as she’s done it to us. I observed her doing it the other day to a very upset local citizen who happens to be pretty prominent in this town. But the bottom line here is, the friend who left her job was an older woman. They started pinning the younger woman’s screw ups on the older employee who had never had a problem or treated any customers with any kind of disrespect in the forty some years she’d worked in that office. But suddenly they start bringing in new blood who start bossing her around, and making it impossible for her to work there any longer. I have to wonder why they want to bother in the first place with an employee who is rude and bossy to customers, and who is changes the rules in midstream, as opposed to a loyal employee who always went above and beyond to make things right for the people who came in. She knew everyone who came in by name, and would acknowledge them on the street. Yet the new blood comes in, the older woman is ousted and blamed for screwups? That’s not right at all.
Before my own mother had to take an early retirement from working in a nursing home due to her own health, she more or less observed some horror stories of her own such as the lonely lady who was as sweet as she could be who was more or less dumped there. Her family never came by. Her family never bothered to check on her, bring her anything she needed, or help her in any way. Then when the little lady passed away, here came this family who nobody had seen in many years, or even heard from since the day they brought the elderly sweetheart to the nursing home years before. They suddenly showed up, fighting over her will and carrying on like she was a treasure to the family a little too late. She WAS a treasure. However this woman’s family never bothered to show it the whole time she was in the nursing home. I can safely tell this story because this is the common denominator for hundreds of older ladies and gentlemen around the country. It is downright heartbreaking.
The saddest part of all of this is that just because a person grows older and gets sick, it doesn’t mean they have done it on purpose. Yet after my own mom got sick, I see this phenomenon first hand even within my own family. My mom is still the same person she was. She can’t help being sick. She can’t help growing older. Yet nobody who used to come around bothers to call or come by to see her. They know she needs financial help but they don’t even offer. These are people my mom generously helped out when they were in need even though it meant she had to do without. If I did not know any better, I would say that she’s being ignored and shunned because they know the bank has gone out of business. Yeah, pretending to care just to get a bit of money is another thing that chaps my butt, but I won’t go there. I could but I’d be letting steam off about it all day. Our senior citizens aren’t at fault or a burden at all to anyone. Some ungrateful younger ones just treat them that way and don’t have any gratitude whatsoever for those who raised them, who are full of history and adventure. You can learn a lot from an older person. All of my grandparents died young and the reason my mom takes so kindly to the elderly is because her own parents never got to see an older age. If my grandparents were still around now, they would be over 90 years old. It really is fascinating to talk to someone of that age range because they have many wonderful stories to tell. If one would only take the time to sit down and listen and preserve it.
What is wrong with people nowadays anyway? I mean come on. We are all going to grow older and if we’re lucky we’re going to be like my great Aunt in West Virginia who is still living at home, tending to her own chickens and garden. There will be no nursing home for this 109 year old lady. Her son lives with her because her eyesight isn’t what it used to be, but at 109, nobody’s would be I imagine. However my cousin, who himself is pushing 80, said that at the rate everything was going, she’d end up taking care of HIM. Ten years ago doctors told my great aunt, who was nearly 100, that they needed to replace her knees, her hip and heart valves. And she told them flat out, “they’re worn out because they are old! If you live as long as I have, you’ll realize it’ll be a waste of time for all that fancy surgery.” She refused the surgery and still does just fine without it. Goes to show you one little hillbilly woman knows more than a doctor.
Our elderly people are to be treasured. They cannot help the illnesses that go hand in hand with the natural aging process. In an interesting twist, I notice nobody treats a child who has a terminal illness with that kind of disrespect. It’s because they are young. I’m not saying children with problems should not be treated otherwise. But it would be nice if our seniors who had similar illnesses would be treated with a bit more respect the same way.