December 28, 2015

I, The Aging caregiver: prelude

What's it like to get old?

 'I know, I know' .
They pass you in the street, preoccupied and muttering.
Unkempt, you see and think, 'They should get their life together.'
But they don't roam the streets, or ask for a tuppence,
they are kept in their homes for the most part.
They are prisoners of their own desires,
to see their children live.
Not down the street playing, being boisterous.
Not in school with grades to make them proud.

They worry about their children, but doesn't everyone?
Machines that make their child's life complete,
defeat but a mere morsel,
when it is death that you must cheat.

Those parents, in their little homes, their little worlds,
their little children cut to the quick.

They sing songs their children cannot understand
beneath the fog of copious drugs that numb, that heal and that sicken.

They don't ask for much, these strange parents with their
strange children whom you never see.
'There must be something wrong with them' and you hurry past
their livingroom window. You see their shattered remains.
You move along because it might be contagious.
The sorrow, anguish, dashed hopes, crushed dreams, creaking bones.
The wear and tear of the caregiving parent. You can hear them scream
inside their heads, 'Good morning' they say, as you pass them.
Didn't you hear the scream?

I'd lock them up, if I heard their screams. Get a grip I'd say. You're not
the only one.
They seem stark, distant, those strange parents. Life goes on, you know.

And they know, that life goes on. Without, they are strong, vigilant while
they caress their child and wipe his brow.
How much sweat in an ounce of pain? How much
pain in an ounce of sanity?

They caress their child and a smile lights up that face, and death
smiles patiently. Life goes on. 'Make the best of it', your encouragement is
endearing, as life goes on.

One day is not the next, there is only one day. There is only one moment,
everything lies within that one moment, even if it lasts for years.
One long instance of life, hovering, quivering. Brought to your knees,
perhaps by tears, but also thanks, because life goes on. You wish for that end, that moment of joy, when it all pays off. The caring, the giving, the sacrifice. The weariness ends when you know the secret, that their life makes amends, the sweetness vivifies, the pureness of that child of theirs, those strange parents.

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