Pupils milky with cataracts, a crippled and wrinkled 83-year-old, peers in desperate search of another face. Jerking her graying head from side to side she slurs, “I’m so incredibly alone, so incredibly alone.” A lone tear travels through a laugh line left over from her glory days.
As I grappled with Elise Page’s post at http://iamtheginjaninja.blogspot.com/2011/04/odyssey.html, immediately a picture comes to mind, but it’s not a 23 year old.
I see nursing homes like discarded teddy bears stuffed with aging, neglected seniors.
I’ve had plenty of experience with nursing homes. They are among the most dreadful places on earth. Desperately in need of sunshine!
- As a small child, I accompanied my daddy to many nursing homes where he would play his accordion and sing for the “shut ins.” I brought sunshine.
- As a pre-teen, the doctor told my dad to put my mom in a nursing home. Heavy cloud time.
- As a teenager, our youth group spent Sunday afternoons traveling between nursing homes–a portable congregation of giggling girls and pimply boys. We sang, prayed, preached, hugged, smiled, and brought the fresh blossom of youth to those who were incredibly alone. And then we hurried away to wash our hands.
- As young marrieds, my husband and I held Sunday church services at a nearby nursing home. I was the musician; he was the preacher. We revived faded memories of young love.
- For several years, my mother-in-law listed alone inside a stroke-ravaged body. Smiles didn’t much help.
- For a short time, my mother struggled to retain her dignity in a nursing home. Once again, I provided momentary sunshine to blot out the aloneness.
I remember mom saying that the mayor’s mother was in the same nursing home. In my numerous visits, I never saw the mayor. Neither did my mother. I think his mom was incredibly alone.
If aloneness is measured by the worst economy without the security of marriage, then I would say that both the blossoming youth and the fading elderly are very alike—and incredibly alone.
- Have you priced starter apartments lately?
- Have you priced nursing homes lately?
- Have you asked how many 20-30 year olds enjoy security in marriage?
- Have you asked how many 80-90 year olds enjoy security in marriage?
Elise relates that her mom told her
“Your twenties are some of the worst years of your life.”
I would guess there are 80 year olds who would tell her that
“Your eighties are some of the worst years of your life.”
Given this picture, being incredibly alone at 20 or 80 is like being two handles on a jump rope.
What’s in the middle?
Married people jumping like energizer bunnies trying to keep their marriages afloat and their mortgages current. Are they, too, not incredibly alone?
So what is the answer to this aloneness?
Who will make us “not alone?”
Is there more to life than knowing “You are not alone, in being alone?”
(Oh my—this is getting way too Core 250? I hear Whitworth grads collectively groaning. For non-Whitworthians, that’s the required philosophy class every student has endured at our alma mater for nearly 40 years! Is this why it was required? Because they knew….Did Descartes think because he was so alone?)
Care to comment on the topic of being alone? What solution do you find? Who in your life is the life long companion committed to your flourishing in good economies and bad?
Marlee Huber ~ Still Contending for Your Flourishing Life.