Are we caring enough?

THERE is a poem that was, apparently, written by an elderly Australian whilst in the geriatric ward of a nursing home in Australia.

The poem, called ‘A cranky old man’, is said to have been found by a nurse after the old man died leaving no worldly goods.

But, what a legacy he did leave because it is now doing the rounds of Facebook, timeline and all the other means of communication.

It certainly made me stop and think. Do I have any relatives, neighbours, friends, acquaintances who could be being treated in this way and are feeling so sad?

But, we don’t treat our elderly people like this do we. Or do we?

Are we in Saffron Walden really the caring sharing community we like to think we are? Perhaps we should all be looking around us more often. And if found wanting, what should we be doing about it? After all, we are ‘Aw Jock Tamson’s bairns’.

Edna Forrest, Saffron Walden

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What do you see nurses, what do you see? What are you thinking when looking at me?

A cranky old man, not very wise? Uncertain of habit with faraway eyes?

Who dribbles his 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 sock 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. Start 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 boy of sixteen with wings on his feet, dreaming that soon now a lover he’ll meet.

A groom soon at twenty my heart gives a leap, remembering the vows that I promised to keep.

Twenty-five now with young of my own who need me to guide with secure happy home.

A man 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 woman’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 wife is now 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 man and nature is cruel. It’s jest to make old age look like a fool.

The body, it crumbles, grace and vigour depart. There is now a stone where I once had a heart.

But inside this old carcass young man 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, too few gone too fast and accept the stark fact that nothing can last.

So open your eyes, people. Open and see. Not a cranky old man.

Look closer. See ME!!