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Nothing to Live For

Updated on March 27, 2017
Gwenneth Leane profile image

Gwen believes that writing about old age will expose the loneliness and perhpas something can be done to alleviate old age loneliness

Nothing to Live For

Source

Retirement - a Death Sentence

Most people look forward to retirement. They live for the day when they retire. When retirement is achieved and and they've had their holiday, what is there to do. Well before retirement plan what you are going to do. Don't wait until after retirement.

Searching for the Defector


‘Tom?’ The old voice full of impatience called, ‘Tom?’ Old Margaret Ames stood on the back door step calling for Tom. Her still young blue eyes probed the overgrown junk littering the back yard, hoping that a sleek black form would leap out and greet her.

The empty kennels and sheds were silent in decay. The light of hope died from her eyes, she seemed to shrink just a little more, crumpling like old parchment. For several days, hope kept her alive, waiting for her beloved to return. His defection left her with nothing to live for.

Turning back into the house, the scuff-scuff of her slippers echoed through dusty, cluttered rooms. The old chair wheezed a protest as Margaret’s emaciated figure sank into it. A sigh escaped the once shapely lips, a tear squeezed under heavy lids exploring, a network of furrows down her withered cheeks. With her beloved’s defection what was there to love. She was alone, unwanted, useless. She hated being old.

A sharp knock on the door and the old lids fluttered open.

‘Just a moment,’ the old voice rasped. It took Margaret sometime to ease herself out of the chair. Another knock, louder this time,

‘It’s the Meals on Wheels ladies. We’ve brought your dinner.’

The door opened, sunshine made a path into the dim hall. Jenny Brown bustle out to the kitchen with steaming plates of food. She pushed aside the flotsam of dirty plates, papers and clothes to put down the dishes. Margaret scuffed along behind her.

Cutting the Cake, a 90 year old rejoiced she could enjoy life

Source

DOWN THE DRAIN a poem about old age


My life is down the drain

I’ve settled in the sludge

There isn’t strength to budge

It’s called old age.

My body’s down the drain

My bust and bum and brains

Once taught and trim and smart

Have travelled south and frozen

My memory’s down the drain,

My senior moments oft recur

Until I’m sure that you’ll concur

That soon I’ll need an intro to myself

G Leane©

The Brush off


‘Have you seen…?’ Marg began.

‘Mrs Ames, are you feeling all right? You haven’t washed yesterday’s dishes. You’ve been crying.’

‘Tom! Have you seen …?’

‘I think you need help, Mrs Ames. I’m going to make an application to Domiciliary Care to send someone to help you.

‘Tom! He hasn’t…’

‘Who’s Tom, Mrs Ames? Sorry we can’t stay to help you. We’re busy today. Many of our helpers are off sick; we’re very short staffed, have to go now. Cheerio, see you tomorrow.’

Margaret put out a hand, fingers now clawed with arthritis to stop Jenny’s mad dash but she brushed aside the old hand scurrying down the shaft of light, slamming the door behind her. The house settled back into its somnolence as if glad the intrusion had left. Margaret stared at the door, alone with her helplessness.

‘Mrs Ames shouldn’t be left alone. She’s not coping, besides, her mind is wandering, and she was raving about Tom. Who is Tom? A son?’ Jenny slammed the car door. Beryl Hick’s started the car, ‘She’s got a daughter in town, why doesn’t she see to the old girl?’ the car swung around leaving a curl of dust hanging in the air like a question mark.

‘Jenny, we can’t be responsible for all the oldies. We only have to deliver their meals. We have families as well.

‘Well, somebody should do something. The old girl can’t be left alone any longer, Beryl. The house is a pigsty. Where did you say her daughter lived?’ Jenny was a little robin, hopping from idea to idea, never stopping for an answer.

Beryl drew up in front of a tiny cottage. Jenny grabbed hot dishes and hurried inside to another aged man in a wheelchair.

‘I can’t get Mrs Ames out of my mind,’ Jenny said as she climbed back into the car. ‘I feel she was trying to tell me something. I feel so guilty for not being able to stop and find out what was wrong.’

‘Stop feeling guilty, Jenny. We’re doing our best. Think of all the time we put into Meals on Wheels. I have to admit the old people are an endangered species these days. You could get in touch with the daughter I suppose. But she had a row with her mother a few years ago and they don’t talk to each other now.’

The two women continued on their way comforting themselves that they were doing all they could.

Old People are often seen as scare crows and treated as non-people

Source

Dreaming of a Better Life


Margaret looked at the steaming food. She felt ill. She spooned some into Tom’s dish, the rest she pushed into the fridge along with several days’ deliveries.

Margaret wandered out through the back yard amid tumbled down kennels and sheds once full of animals whose owners were on holiday or recovering from some illness or hurt.

‘To-om, To-om.’ No sleek black form crawled out from under a bush, stretching and yawning sleepily, to wind himself around her legs. Hope died; she had lost another love, what was there to live for? If she could only go to meet her Ralph to whom she’d been married to for fifty years until cancer claimed his life. Perhaps they would work together again as vets in the animal heaven as they did here.

Margaret returned to her chair, staring through the hazed window at a world alive with its own concerns, unaware of the needy old woman behind the window, arrogant in the knowledge of their youth. Margaret sighed, what a devil it was to get old, the living no longer wanted you.

Once she had been a part of that mad rush out there, she existed in a backwater where no one knew or cared what happened to her. She and her Ralph had lived for animals. Creatures loved you regardless of how you treated them. If she could only go to sleep and wake beside her Ralph, she had loved him beyond all else.

Margaret eased herself slowly out of her chair, and scrimmaged through a drawer in a sideboard under the window. She filled a syringe, a fleeting smile ironed out the furrowed cheeks as she thought of meeting Ralph again. She had never discarded the tranquilisers and syringes when she retired from the Practice. She eased back into her chair with a sigh and plunged the needle into her arm. Her hand dropped over the side of the chair, her head slid sideways. The day slipped away; the house settled even more deeply into its sleep.

The Invincible Young


Young people consider themselves to be invincible and that old age will not catch up with them. The bad news: aging is inevitable. Exercise, good food, potions and pills cannot put back the clock of aging.

We are told to grow old gracefully by dying our hair and using makeup and other ruses growing old gracefully is easier said than done. Anger, depression, despair and many other emotions are experienced as old age takes its course.

Old age consists of ages nearing or surpassing the life expectancy of human beings, and thus the end of the human life cycle. Euphemisms and terms for old people include old people (worldwide usage), seniors (American usage), senior citizens (British and American usage), older adults (in the social sciences), the elderly, and aged (in many cultures including the cultures of aboriginal people).

Old people often have limited regenerative abilities and are more susceptible to disease, syndromes, and sickness than younger adults are. The organic process of ageing is called senescence the medical study of the aging process is gerontology, and the study of diseases that afflict the elderly is geriatrics. The elderly also face other social issues such as, and ageism.

The chronological age denoted as "old age" varies culturally and historically. Thus, old age is "a social construct" rather than a definite "biological stage".

The Defector Returns


The sleek black defector dropped into the yard, pushed through the cat hole in the door, walked confidently to his dish, tail high with self-esteem. He downed the contents. Mewing a greeting, Tom rubbed against the grubby leggings. There was no response. He nudged the cold hand, finally he curled up on Margaret’s lap and slept as was his practice unaware yet that Margaret would not wake to cuddle him ever.

Hunger pain woke Tom early in the morning, a graceful stretch and wide yawn, a visit to his dish. Disgusted that it was empty he returned to Margaret mewing for food. He nudged her hand, giving it a lick. It smelled queer, he gave it a nip, his stomach told him it would be good to eat, so he ate his fill. Instinct told him Margret was different; his loyalty to the hands that fed him gave way to hunger pains.

Next day at noon, Jenny and Beryl arrived in a cloud of dust with a hot meal. At their entry Tom hissed angrily at their sudden appearance, already his feral instincts were rising. He fled at Jenny’s attempts to befriend him.

Jenny screamed, ‘Beryl, that awful cat has started to eat Margaret.’

‘What’s happened?’ Beryl felt bemused.

‘It’s Margaret Ames, she dead and the cat’s been eating her. I’m going to be sick.’ Jenny raced for the toilet.

Beryl had disappeared outside, white and shaking. Never had they experienced anything like this in all the years they’d work delivering Meals on Wheels.

‘What’s happened here?’ The Paramedics looked around on arrival to Beryl’s call.

Jenny sobbed out her guilt, ‘If only I had listened to her yesterday. Can’t forgive myself. I’ve always hated that cat, it seemed evil.’

‘Listen, lady, the old girl loved her cat. She wouldn’t have known anything about it.’ The Officer held up the syringe that had slid down into the chair as Margaret slept eternally. ‘She took her own life.’

Jenny’s face was awash with tears at the Paramedic’s words. Beryl having returned led Jenny way, ‘We still have other deliveries to make.’

‘I can’t go on, Beryl. I feel it was all my fault. I knew something was wrong but I didn’t do anything about it. I didn’t even ring her daughter because it was too busy.’

‘I don’t know what you could have done. It’s the way we work these days when caring for the old. We can only do what we can and hope that something might change for the better.’ Beryl choked back her tears.

‘Beryl, I’m determined to do something, I don’t know what yet, but I’m not going to let the old suffer more than I can help.’

It was late afternoon when Tom reappeared and entered he cat hole. He tested the air, his tail twitching. He prowled through the rooms, inquiring sniffs to furniture and clothing, his claws echoing hollowly on the dusty faded linoleum. She was gone. Her smell was weak. There was nothing for him here. He eased out into the back yard, moving through the undergrowth, to the back fence. He sat on a post, ears pricked, studying first the lane then the house, would she yet call? Satisfied the old voice was silent, his meal ticket gone, freedom beckoned, he jumped from the post into the lane and trotted off into the coming night.

A beloved pet brings joy into the life of an owner and gives them something to live for, to get out of bed and care for

Source

In Five Years Time


I wonder if I’ll see

If I will hear

Or even be

In five years time


I wonder if I’ll thrive

Be able to drive

Or fly a kite

In five years time


I wonder if I’ll hike

Ride a bike

Still argue and fight

In five years time


I should be 82

The years ahead just few

It’s likely I’ll feel heaven’s dew

In five years time

© Gwenneth Leane

'The Invincible Young', sourced from Wickipedia


Young people consider themselves to be invincible and that old age will not catch up with them. The bad news: aging is inevitable. Exercise, good food, potions and pills cannot put back the clock of aging.

We are told to grow old gracefully by dying our hair and using makeup and other ruses growing old gracefully is easier said than done. Anger, depression, despair and many other emotions are experienced as old age takes its course.

Old age consists of ages nearing or surpassing the life expectancy of human beings, and thus the end of the human life cycle. Euphemisms and terms for old people include, old people (worldwide usage), seniors (American usage), senior citizens(British and American usage), older adults (in the social sciences), the elderly, and elders (in many cultures including the cultures of aboriginal people).

Old people often have limited regenerative abilities and are more susceptible to disease, syndromes, and sickness than younger adults. The organic process of ageing is called senescence the medical study of the aging process is gerontology and the study of diseases that afflict the elderly is geriatrics. The elderly also face other social issues such as , and ageism.

The chronological age denoted as "old age" varies culturally and historically. Thus, old age is "a social construct" rather than a definite "biological stage".

Beauty fades and withers into an effigy of youth. Age does not command respect in most cultures. It is considered a burden to the carers

Source

The importance of independence. Don't relinquish it too hastily

Promoting independence in self-care can provide older adults with the capability to maintain independence longer and can leave them with a sense of achievement when they complete a task unaided. Older adults that require assistance with activities of daily living are at a greater risk of losing their independence with self-care tasks as dependent personal behaviours are often met with reinforcement from caregivers. It is important for caregivers to ensure that measures are put into place to preserve and promote function rather than contribute to a decline in status in an older adult that has physical limitations. Caregivers need to be conscious of actions and behaviors that cause older adults to become dependent on them and need to allow older patients to maintain as much independence as possible. Providing information to the older patient on why it is important to perform self-care may allow them to see the benefit in performing self-care independently. If the older adult is able to complete self-care activities on their own, or even if they need supervision, encourage them in their efforts as maintaining independence can provide them with a sense of accomplishment and the ability to maintain independence longer

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    • Gwenneth Leane profile image
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      Gwenneth Leane 4 months ago from Glen Osmond, Adelaide, South Australia Australia

      Thank you Catherine Giordano for your comments. I hardly think you will ever get to the stage of having nothing to live for. You have too many interests and are too active.

      But there are people like my heroine that get sidelined for different reasons and fall through the systems made to keep them in the course of life.

    • CatherineGiordano profile image

      Catherine Giordano 4 months ago from Orlando Florida

      I hope I never get to the "nothing to live for" stage. I find each day to be a fascinating adventure. HubPages helps. It learn new things when I read hubs and especially when I write hubs.

    • Gwenneth Leane profile image
      Author

      Gwenneth Leane 2 years ago from Glen Osmond, Adelaide, South Australia Australia

      Thank you Iris Draak for your comments. I appreciate tham

    • Gwenneth Leane profile image
      Author

      Gwenneth Leane 2 years ago from Glen Osmond, Adelaide, South Australia Australia

      Thanks for you comments. I wasn't all that old when I wrote it but today I iddentify with what I wrote

    • Iris Draak profile image

      Cristen Iris 2 years ago from Boise, Idaho

      What an interesting and thoughtful story. It was respectful and realistic. You made it interesting by weaving the cat into the narrative.

    • Gwenneth Leane profile image
      Author

      Gwenneth Leane 2 years ago from Glen Osmond, Adelaide, South Australia Australia

      Thanks Jodah for your gracious comments. I appreciate your encouragement.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Wow, what a hub Gweneth.. Sad and shocking. Ageing is something none of us look forward to particularly if we lose a partner. It is even upsetting when our animal companions die. Well written. Voted up.