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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Look Closer, See Me

I am told that this poem was found with the belongings of an elderly woman who died in the geriatric ward of a hospital near Dundee, Scotland. It is a powerful piece that should remind us all that a failing mind or body does not change who we are. I hope it helps you in some way.

If you can share a story, or any way that this poem affects your life, please leave a comment or contact Golowin Legal.

Look Closer, See Me

What do you see nurses, what do you see?
Are you thinking when you are looking at me— A crabby old woman, not very wise,
Uncertain of habit, with far-away eyes.
Who dribbles her food and makes no reply,
When you say in a loud voice—"I do wish you'd try."
Who unresisting or not, lets you do as you will,
With bathing and feeding the long day to fill.
Is that what you are 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 sister, 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 build a secure, happy home;
A woman of thirty, my young now grow 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 shutter 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 an old woman now and nature is cruel—
'Tis’ her 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!

Courtesy of the Peninsula Hospital Center, Far Rockaway,
New York, and Greater New Hospital Association.
Golowin Legal is your source for elder law, estate planning, probate and asset protection.
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