The time is 11:20 in the morning.
My grandfather and I had just come back thirty minutes ago from our regular morning walk in the neighborhood. We are yet to eat lunch in a little while. As usual, only the two of us are left in the house. I’m presently listening to a CD containing Christian New Wave songs a new friend of mine from North York, Ontario (another Canadian province), has sent me—which arrived in the mail this morning. Grandfather is on his ground-level bed, sewing something, whiling his time, curing his own boredom.
I feel more comfortable and relaxed in situations like this—moments when my grandfather and I are the only souls in the house, regardless that we’re always inside our room anyway.
Only now—in my being constantly with him—that I’m realizing how PATIENCE could really be the young’s greatest virtue in dealing with the elderly—add to that, UNDERSTANDING and EMPATHY. Believe me, if not for these virtues, I would have long given in to resentment and annoyance.
Every time we would walk, I usually get tired not because of the distance my grandfather and I were covering nor of how fast we were walking but because we were walking rather very slow—almost as slow as a snail's pace, for the obvious reason that my grandfather's weakness and poor sense of balance could no longer afford him the agility, stamina, and stride of youth. If not for patience, I would have easily given in to annoyance and frustration. Because of patience, even though my legs become tired and my mind weary, my spirit becomes stronger.
This morning, my grandfather and I came back from our regular early walk, my aunt and the rest were still in the house; in fact, she even asked Grandfather where we went—to which he replied: “Just around the neighborhood.” Then, Aunt told Grandfather and me to eat lunch (they’d finished theirs) for they would already be leaving for work. Grandfather bade them goodbye and saw them through the door. The funny thing was, after only about thirty minutes, while he and I were resting in the room, Grandfather suddenly asked me whether Aunt and the rest have already eaten lunch and if they were still in the house; to think that he saw them leaving! If not for understanding my grandfather's condition—that he’s beginning to suffer from the inevitable senility, I would have given in, again, to annoyance and frustration. I would have wondered, how come he easily forgets such simple things; remember, he was the one who actually saw Aunt and the rest leaving through the door.
Being my grandfather's constant companion and confidant has given me the rare opportunity of entering the microcosm of elderly people in general. It afforded me not only patience and understanding but more so empathy—the ability to identify with and understand the situation, feelings, and motives of people who are in the sunsets of their lives. I didn’t only understand their fears, frustrations, regrets; but instead, I began to feel such woes as if these were mine. In foresight, anyway, such woes would soon be my own; for surely I, like all of you, am inescapably destined to become an elderly someday. Yes, all of us will certainly become old and wrinkled like my grandfather. Maybe not in the near future, but definitely someday. And that is inevitable. It will certainly come. Believe me, it will come—unless we die young. And all we could ever hope for is that when that time approaches—when we finally enter our own sunsets—when we have become the elderly—the forgetful, the weak, the senile—there would be someone PATIENT, UNDERSTANDING, and EMPATHETIC who would care for each of us.
We will doubtlessly be reaping in old age what we have been sowing in our youth.
- 11:50 p.m., Saturday, May 8, 2004;
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada
While listening to "Wonderful Life" by Black
('Wonderful Life'; 1987, A&M)
©2004 eLf ideas
.aLfie .vera .mella
aLfie "eLf" vera mella was born in 1971 in Metro Manila, Philippines. He was a very inquisitive child who had shown fondness for reading and writing at an early age. He graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing, but the literatus in him never left his heart. A true artist, eLf was the vocalist of a New Wave band, named Half Life Half Death, which served as the musical vehicle for his poetry. Before he left his beloved country in 2003, he was working as an editor of and writer for scholastic books and magazines. eLf is currently living in British Columbia, Canada, serving as a caregiver for his maternal grandfather. He may have left a well-loved work but for a noble reason, and he never ceased from doing what he loves most since childhood—writing. Virtually always home, he usually spends his solitary nights reading, researching, and writing about various subjects of his interest—chiefly, Culture, History, Literature, Mythology, Music, and Science—with New Wave music always lingering in the background like a gentle breeze on a quiet sea.A writer at heart, eLf started inditing his thoughts around the age of six; and he intends to continue documenting his feelings and ideas until his twilight./http://www.elf-ideas.blogspot.com