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Living through the eyes of the elderly

Updated on August 27, 2016

When I was young, I flirted with life. I played with disaster. I toyed with precepts and dreams. I lusted for play, for fun, for candy and freedom.

When I started high school I ran away from homework. I chased the opposite sex. I fled my responsibilities and shirked hard work. I learned the value of an honest buck and worked nights after school and bought my own clothes, paid for my first car.

When I graduated high school I dove into working full time, lusting after the freedom I remember having as a young child.

I started a family. Worked two jobs. I had good times, bad times, sad times and catastrophic life altering times that left me with scars, deep gouges that never fully healed.

I watched my kids grow up. I helped them the best I could.

Now that I am old, my eyes are dim. My hair is thin. My skin is weak, my teeth are gone. My mind is failing.

Before me I face death, behind me an endless vast legacy of the account of my life choices, my pains, my laughter, my losses and gains. I pass them on to you now.

Now go, take what you have seen from my life, and apply it to your own. Teach your children well. Love with all you have.

Because in the end of a life, all that is left is what you left behind.

The elderly are not stupid, old people. They have already been through the school of hard knocks in life.
The elderly are not stupid, old people. They have already been through the school of hard knocks in life. | Source
Our grandparents' were once young too
Our grandparents' were once young too | Source

Priorities change with each passing year

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old he will not depart from it." Ephesians 22:6.

There is a twinkling perseverance in the eyes of the elderly. They've been there, they've done that. They've suffered with hardships that we, as the younger generation, may never comprehend.

My grandparent's were prime examples of lives lived to the fullest amidst the great depression. My mamaw would take old seed cloth bags and sew them together to make quilts and dresses. Still to this day, she has a warm and beautiful seed cloth quilt, and canned goods filling the basement walls from floor to ceiling. "You never know..." She says.

My papaw would pick apples from the trees outback for her to fry up and can, and he would bring her in another gorgeous maple leaf to use as a quilt pattern.

I had the privilege of working at 2 Nursing Homes years ago, and I saw the same characteristics in the elderly at work that I saw in my own grandparent's growing up. They are not stupid, old people. They have been through the school of hard knocks, each one having their own struggles in the past that have helped define them as the elderly today.

When I get old, what will matter most to me? I often question myself as to how my priorities may change. I am in the "raising children" and "providing for my family" phase now, but I know it will change one day. I understand the value of having respect for my elders and compassion for the ones who cannot help themselves. I see that in the lives of the elderly what matters most to them is a warm meal, laughter, fellowship and love.

As time goes on and we grow older in life, we need to be considering what matters most. We cannot take anything with us when we die, but we sure do leave a lot behind. What life testimony will you leave behind one day when you draw your last breath?

With each passing year, circumstances or hardships change. One truth that will never change is the fact that we all grow old, feeble, become incapacitated, and eventually die. So in essence, our hardships never end; but what testimony we leave behind for future generations may last long after we are gone.

I have learned to look at the elderly in a completely different way, especially since losing three grandparent's and working at nursing homes. When you see it first hand every day, it should be an eye opener for each of us, giving us compassion and respect.

Living through the eyes of the elderly


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      Tiwari 3 years ago

      I think I have become a Christian in intrmeencs. I have come to see being saved not as an event but an ever maturing process. The way I react to every situation allows me to practice. I keep it simple with 2 rules: Never be the source of anyone's misfortune and never pass up an opportunity to perform an act of kindness.

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      April Savage 6 years ago from Florida

      You are most welcome. I am glad to know my writing has helped someone. God bless you and your family while you are going through this with your father.

    • luckyfind profile image

      luckyfind 6 years ago

      Thanks for the great advice, Our Father is 83 now and has about a month to live with termianl cancer. It's hard to take but thank you for helping me get ready to deal with it.

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      Terri S 6 years ago

      I enjoyed this article April. I deal closely with people of all ages as a nurse and the elderly hold a special place in my heart. I remember a poem I read once that was written by an elderly man in a nursing home. I believe the title was "What Do You See When You Look At Me?". The poem made me cry a little but was poignantly written. The author wrote lines like, "do you see an angry old man who resists taking his medicine or eating the food you cooked for me? Or can you see the young boy who went away to war, leaving his young bride crying? Can you see the young man who went to bed hungry because he let his children eat the only food in the house for dinner?". If I can find the poem again I will share it with you. The person standing next to you is a composition of experiences and memories just like you!