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
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, nurses, open and see,
...Not a crabby old woman; look closer ...see ME!!

I heard this poem for the first time, when I was in my forties. I do believe it was the saddest poem that I had ever heard. Our Pastor read it on Mother's Day one year, long ago. It broke my heart then and it breaks my heart now. I think it is because I could find my place in this poem and today, I still find my place.

It was oh, so sad then and today I find it sad still and yet, I have much comfort in knowing that whatever may come, my Lord goes before me and holds my hand.

As I said earlier, I first heard this poem when I was in my forties. I had already pass the age of ten when I lived at home with a loving Dad and Mom and sisters and brothers that loved me.Those days were over.

Gone were the days of my sixteenth year when it seemed all of life lay before me. I was waiting for the one I had prayed for to come and take me to a home for he and I. A place where we could raise children, where we could each love the Lord with all our hearts and our children to do the same.Teach them to love Him and trust Him always. A place where we could not only love Him but serve Him with everything we had. A dream yes but I did know that one day, I would be there. Now that time has come and gone. Only Jim and I left now, in that home that we both so love.

I became a bride two months before my 19th birthday. And by the time, I was twenty, I was a Mother to a son. In the following years I became Mother to three more sons and a daughter. The greatest things in my life have been being a wife to my husband and a Mother to our children.There came that day that those children were raised and left home and have families of their own. So, I have gone past this time of life.

Thank God, He has not brought me to the next phase of my life. Oh, what a sad thing it must be to lose a husband or wife. The one who has known you best and loved you most in all your life. But God gives grace and all sufficient when, and as we need it. Of that I have no doubt!

I am writing this to call on all you young folks out there, just to remember when you see that old person whose eyes may be dim or no sight at all, that once they saw it all and still remember. Do your really see a crabby old woman or man, who may not seem to know very much. Please remember they have not always been this way. No they had minds that was quick and sure. That far away look you see in their eyes maybe that they are remembering happier times.Times when they did not have to depend on other for their eyes,their hearing, their help to move, to keep their selves clean,or feed their selves . It cost them so much, each time they needs to ask.

Like the poem says, open your eyes not even so much for them but for yourselves. We all must travel this road one way or another sometime. It is life, we are born dying.

Don't look at him or her in scorn or shame but remember that she too had a life once just like what is ahead of you or are now living. Be kind, be patient, be loving and maybe just maybe, God will send someone your way that will treat you likewise as you travel down this way.

Yes, today, this is still the saddest poem that I have ever read but I have learned so much from it. I get it out ever so often just to remind me and to see how far I have come down this way, called "life." connie


Kate said...

What a wonderful post!!! The poem made me cry!!


Dear Kate, It always makes me cry but it has always taught me so much.Thank you for reading the post. connie

Grammy Blick said...

Recently an 80-year-old lady in our church was having chest pains and shortness of breath. Trip to the hospital, lots of tests, quick trip to surgery and the new stent was to give her comfort. Awake, she was returned to her room where she complained about pain and difficulty in breathing. Condescending nurses first told her it was expected after surgery, then she said, "I'm dying and no one here cares." Finally, they listened and checked thoroughly. She was rushed back into surgery to replace the stent that had a blockage, damaging a portion of her heart.

Listen to the elderly. Do not make assumptions based on age without being certain those assumptions are valid. Not only did we have a life at sixteen that was vibrant and useful -- so do we now (whenever 'now' might be.)

Thank you, Connie, for reminding us all that we should be as God told Peter:

Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
(Acts 10:34 KJV)


Grammy Blick, thank you! I agree.connie